Holiday Talent

Arkansas signee Nate Rakestraw joins several other top talents and potential Razorback targets on hand for the 12th annual Holiday Hoops, a three-day event that begins Thursday afternoon at Bud Walton Arena.

Although his team is on a game break until next Thursday, University of Arkansas head coach Stan Heath will still see plenty of contests.

That will include being on hand for 12th annual Holiday Hoops, an eight-team, three-day event that will be played at Bud Walton Arena beginning Thursday afternoon.

Heath will not only get a chance to see future Razorback shooting guard and current Har-Ber standout Nate Rakestraw (6-5, 212), who is averaging 22 points a game so far this season, but several other top prospects the program is recruiting.

"We have got one of our own in the tournament in Nate Rakestraw and we are excited to see him playing on the court we think he is going to have a lot of success on in the future," Heath said. "There are a lot of talented teams and a lot of talented players that are going to be on hand and it's a great deal for us."

That's chiefly because the players are basically on an unofficial visit to the UA – a big deal especially with sophomores and juniors – and the Razorbacks are going to have anywhere from five to seven scholarships available for the 2008 class.

" We have a huge number of scholarships coming up in the next couple of years," Heath said. "So for us to have a chance to see some of the top juniors and sophomores, it gives us a head start and gives those young men a chance to see our campus, play in Bud Walton Arena – which is one of the best facilities in the country and get a sniff of the Razorback experience."

Action will get underway at 3:30 this afternoon when Forrest City takes on Duncanville with Sptingdale and Monroe (La.) Richwood tangling at 5 p.m., Fayetteville and Junction City matched up at 6:30 p.m,. and Har-Ber and Columbus (Miss.) New Hope closing things out at 8 p.m. Some of the Razorbacks' top targets slated to platy are Har-Ber senior forward Michael Sanchez (6-8, 220), Richwood junior forward Storm Warren (6-9, 215) and New Hope junior center Rashanti Harris (6-10, 240).

There's also exciting Duncanville sophomore Shawn Williams (6-6, 185), who averaged 12 points a game last season as a ninth grader playing high school varsity action.

Other top players there will be Oklahoma State signee James Anderson of Junction City, the Forrest City trio of Kelson Stewart, Marcus Britt and Arkansas State signee Stefon Weaver and 6-8 Texas Tech signeee D'Wayln Harris of Duncanville.

"The guys who organize this event do such a great job and they work so hard," Heath said. "I hope basketball fans out there will support the event because it would be huge for those kids and maybe for our basketball program."

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