2006 Holiday Hoops

Junction City's James Anderson, the Har-Ber High duo of UA commit Nate Rakestraw and Michael Sanchez, a trio of Forrest City players and several top out-of-state junior prospects headline the 13th annual Holiday Hoops Basketball Tournament Dec. 7-9 at Bud Walton Arena.

Fayetteville and Springdale are going to be getting after each other on the football field this Friday night, but have decided to work together on the basketball court in December.

That's when the two cities will get together to host the 13th annual Holiday Hoops Basketball Tournament Dec. 7-9 at Bud Walton Arena – an event that will not only feature some of the state's best, but several of the nation's top prospects.

The organizers got together to drum up support Thursday for the even, which has drawn future NBA and top college players, but never tremendous crowds.

"We are going to have at least seven of the top prospects in the state here and several great players from outside of the state," Fayetteville head coach Barry Gebhart said. "…It ought to be entertaining for fans to come and watch and really that's been the only missing link to be honest with you. We've got everything in the world, but fan support, we have got to have fans come out. There's no substitute for putting fans in the seats to watch them play."

There have been over 100 players go on to play Division I college basketball and at least 12 have played in the NBA after playing in the Holiday Hoops.

There is plenty of talent once again this season, including one committed future Razorbacks and several others they Razorbacks and are recruiting.

Those prospects such as highly-sought James Anderson of Jucntion City, the Springdale Har-Ber high duo of University of Arkansas commit Nate Rakestraw and Michael Sanchez , the Forrest City trio of Marcus Britt, Stefon Weaver and Kelson Stewart, 6-8 Texas Tech commit D'Walyn Harris, 6-8 junior Storm Warren of Monroe (La.) Richwood and 6-10, 260-pound junior Rashanti Harris of Columbus (Miss.) New Hope.

"The Razorbacks can't talk about it, but we can," Johnson said. "There is no doubt that we would love for these kids to see the University of Arkansas and go to school here."

Interestingly six members of a Southlake, Texas squad that played in the event a few years ago are students at the University of Arkansas now and none are athletes.

"We arranged a campus tour for the Southlake team and there are now currently six of those kids on campus at the University of Arkansas," committee member Steven Nolan said. "Not a single one of them on athletic scholarship."

Rakestraw - who established himself as one of the nation's best pure shooters on the AAU circuit the past summer - is obviously a future Razorback and Arkansas has already hosted Anderson – one of the nation's top 30 players on an official visit.

They are also known to be recruiting Sanchez – who may be a 2007 or 20078 prospect – as well as Warren and Rashanti Harris while still evaluating Britt.


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