TEANECK, N.J. - For the second straight year, Har-Ber senior-to-be basketball standout Michael Sanchez got a free trip here with his invitation to for the Reebok ABCD Camp.
Difference this year is that Sanchez – who has a scholarship offer from Arkansas and ones from 15 other schools - is bored out of his mind since he is not participating.
Sanchez (6-8, 220), battling a knee injury, is not playing at the camp that ends up today and instead mostly just sits in the stands and watches the rest of some 120 of the nation's top players.
"It is painful watching all these guys play and not being able to get out there with them," Sanchez said. "You are out here watching the games go on and just wishing you could be out there making plays against them and helping your team win, playing and dunking just like they are."
Sanchez is unable to participate because he is battling a case of patella tendenitis and also has a meniscus tear. He has shut down playing for the rest of the summer and will be out until at least mid-season of his senior campaign.
How long he is out depends in part on whether he has surgery or not to try and help the tendons – which can also be rehab by a electronic machine that works on them.
His family has now consulted with several doctors on how to proceed.
"My parents and I are still undecided about the surgery," Sanchez said. "The last doctor from Cleveland said he didn't really think I needed it and thinks I am too young to get it. He said it was whatever we want to do and time is on our side."
There are obviously pros and cons of the decision on the surgery, which former Florida player Chris Richard had as well as former NBA player Tim McCormick, who Sanchez chatted with at the NBA Players Association Top 100 Camp.
"If I have the surgery, it will be healed and there would be no more pain," Sanchez said. "If something were to go wrong, well, that's a chance you take."
Decisions on how to heal the injury and if he will go to a prep school for the 2007-2008 will be made soon after his return to Arkansas.
"We are going to try pretty quick after I get back to make a decision," Sanchez said. "I definitely have to get my meniscus fixed. I might not be there for the first half of the season."
As for reclassifying to 2008 and heading to prep school, it seems that Sanchez is leaning that way pretty heavily right now.
"You say the word prep school in Arkansas and no one knows what that is, but up here (in the New York City area) that is where all the talent is," Sanchez said. "To be able to play with that talent all year round would be a pretty golden opportunity. It would season me for college and I am going to lose a whole lot of time and development due to my knees. I think it's the way to do it."
Sanchez averaged 18 points and 10 rebounds last season and is just anxious to have a plan to go ahead.
"What we will probably do is make the surgery decision first and then the prep school decision a little after that," Sanchez said. "I'm ready to get this all behind me."
Nate Rakestraw, his Har-Ber teammate, has already committed to Arkansas.
"I am so happy for him," Sanchez said. "There is a lot of people out there who don't understand how great of a player he is. He has become a great, great player."
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