Now that he has two healthy knees and a decision on where he will play his basketball next season, Michael Sanchez is just having fun.
That was clearly evident this weekend at the third annual Real Deal on the Hill when Sanchez (6-8, 220) showed why he was once ranked as one of the top 50 sophomores in the country.
"Honestly I had forgot what it felt like to play several games in a tournament and not have pain," Sanchez said. "After games I used to head straight to get some ice to put on them, but no I don't need it. I can actually rest instead of constantly taking care of them."
Sanchez averaged 20 points and 11 rebounds this weekend as his Arkansas Hawks won their pool and advanced to the tournament quarterfinals before losing to California Pump and Run on Saturday night.
Once he is officially reclassified a 2008 prospect, Sanchez is likely to hit the rankings once again.
"He played really good," Arkansas Hawks head coach Bill Ingram said. "He is a flat out player. He looks like he is totally 100 percent now and you can see he now looks like he did a couple of years ago."
Sanchez and his family have decided that he will head the prep school route next season – not for lack of good grades, but to continue to develop for a year and then have four years to play in college.
"I am definitely going to prep next year and attend Findley Prep in Las Vegas," Sanchez said. "I missed nearly eight months being injured and I think I am going to get that back while going to prep school. I am going to tighten up my skills, work out my legs and enjoy playing basketball pain-free."
He had narrowed his list down to Arkansas, Tennessee, Texas A&M and Michigan – three of which have either changed coaches or have openings right now.
"Its been crazy around here and the other places, but I think I would have ended up going to prep school anyway," Sanchez said. "That way I will be in the best possible position to get some playing time when I get to college."
Sanchez had games of 26 points and 7 rebounds and had three double-doubles in his teams five games – including a 17-point, 17-rebound performance Saturday afternoon in the opening round of championship play.
"As a team I thought we played pretty well," Sanchez said. "We have practiced only a few times, but I think we play really well together. I am really excited about our team and the chance I am going to be able to help now that I am 100 percent healthy. It is a great feeling."
Prepped and Ready
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