Sanchez Situations

In his weekly recruiting column for Hawgs Illustrated and The Morning News of Northwest Arkansas, Dudley E. Dawson talks to injured Har-Ber basketball standout Michael Sanchez (6-8, 220), who is contemplating knee surgery now, rehabbing and playing for the Wildcats next season and then becoming a 2008 prospect by going to prep schol for a year before going to college.

It may be 2008 instead of the expected 2007 - and after a post-graduate season at a prep school - before we see Har-Ber standout Michael Sanchez take the floor as a college basketball player.

Sanchez (6-8, 220) is suffering through patella tendenitis, will not play any AAU games the rest of this summer and will either have a new surgical procedure or just shut down and rest for the next six months.

His family is waiting on one more medical opinion - this one from a top surgeon in Cleveland - before deciding whether to have the surgery or not.

"Michael thinks it is in his best interest to have the surgery, rehab the four or five months and then play his senior year of high school notes Bert Sanchez, Michael's dad. "Then because of the lack of development he would have had during that time, he thinks it would be best to go on to a prep school for a year. So we are researching all those options right now."

Sanchez, who averaged 18 points and 10 rebounds this past season for Har-Ber, has been plagued by the patella tendenitis since last August. with it reaching its most painful point at the Real Deal on the Hill AAU event in Fayetteville.

If he does not have the surgery then he is still looking at shutting it down for five or so months.

"It really has put a dent in my game," Sanchez said. "It's made me slower and it hurts to jump. When I go up and come back down there is a sharp pain in my knee. And then if I play too much it starts swelling up. I've also be playing with a slight tear in my meniscus. It's been really frustrating and painful."

Sanchez and his parents have made University of Arkansas head coach Stan Heath, who offered the prospect a scholarship before he played his high school game, and other coaches aware of what they are considering.

Sanchez, who now has 16 offers with Charlotte and Ole Miss recently jumping into the fray, obviously has his recruitment now in a state of flux.

He has already taken unofficial visits to Arkansas, Texas A&M, Florida, Tennessee and Charlotte while traveling with the Hawks.

"We've seen a few doctors and obviously we are still deciding what to do with the knee and whether I would go to prep school after I graduate," Sanchez said. "So obviously everything is kind of slowing down until we come to some decisions on those things."

Sanchez played earlier this spring and summer with the Arkansas Hawks, but has not been practicing during the week and just playing on the weekends.

His effort during the spring and summer led to him dropping in the rankings.

"That's kind of frustrating because obviously I have not been able to play anywhere near how I can and I've missed a lot of development," Sanchez said. "But the coaches that have offered me scholarships know what the deal has been with my knee and they have all been very supportive."

He is just back from the NBA Players Association Top 100 Camp in Richmond, Va., where he had been invited for a second straight year.

Sanchez was not able to play any games, but able to go through drills in the morning - the same tact he will take at the Reebok ABCD Camp July 4-9 in Teaneck, N.J. - and became friends with Junction City star James Anderson, who was also at the camp, and many others.

"I really enjoyed it though because I got to hang out with (former Razorback) Andrew Lang and NBA players like Dwight Howard and guys like (former NBA players) Ralph Sampson and Tim McCormick," Sanchez said. "I always learn a lot when I am down there."

Sanchez is very happy for Har-Ber and Arkansas Hawks teammate Nate Rakestraw, who recently got an unconditional offer from the Razorbacks and committed the same day.

"I am really, really happy for him and Nate has always been a Razorback fan and always wanted to be a Razorback," Sanchez said. "He has really been shooting the ball well this summer, but he is doing so many other things great. He's a great player."

As is Razorback star Ronnie Brewer, a good friend of Sanchez' who will be taken high in tonight's NBA Draft.

"I got a chance to play with him a lot and he's made me a lot better," Sanchez said. "He works so hard and he so deserve what he is going to get. He has great skills and the whole package."

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