Razorbacks land Sanchez

Springdale Har-Ber power forward Michael Sanchez (6-9, 230) talks about joining Forrest City guard Marcus Britt in committing to Arkansas on Monday and making it a banner day for new Razorback head coach John Pelphrey and his staff.

In the end, Michael Sanchez decided staying home and going to college right away was his best option.

Sanchez, a 6-9,230-pound power forward from Springdale Har-Ber, committed to the University of Arkansas on Monday and will sign with the Razorback basketball program in a noon press conference Tuesday at his school on Tuesday.

Sanchez, who chose Arkansas over Kentucky, Wake Forest and Colorado , was one of two players committing to new coach John Pelphrey on Monday along with Forrest City guard Marcus Britt (6-3, 180) and both now join Har-Ber swingman Nate Rakestraw (6-5, 212) as future Razorbacks.

"I am very impressed with Coach Pelphrey and what he is going to be doing with the program and I am looking forward to playing for him and being a Razorback," Sanchez said. "To be able to stay home and play for Arkansas and help get them back to where they use to be is going to be great."

Sanchez, who already visited Wake Forest, canceled trips to Colorado and Kentucky scheduled for this week as well as making a call to Findley Prep in Las Vegas, where he had committed a month or so to go next season.

"It was tough to make those calls, especially to Findley, who I had committed to a month or so ago," Sanchez said. "They all have been so great to me, but I just think going to Arkansas is the best thing for me right now."

Sanchez will get to be on the same court again with Rakestraw, a pure shooter who averaged 18 points per game this season.

"Nate is one of my favorite people and one of the saddest things walking off the court the last time and knowing we weren't going to be on the same team next season," Sanchez said. "Now we'll get to be teammates for another four years and that's great."

Sanchez, who averaged 16 points and 15 rebounds this season, is also a fan of Britt.

"I have played basketball with him a couple of times and he is a great point guard that is a great passer and shooter," Sanchez said. "I really like his game and think he's going to be a great teammate."

Sanchez, who was plagued for nearly 18 months by some knee pain that was eventually helped surgically, had planned to go to prep school for a year to regain the development time that he lost.

But now that he is fully healthy, Sanchez has been a star on the AAU circuit this season for Bill Ingram and the Arkansas Hawks and was overwhelmed with some 10 offers after his play in a pair of events.

Those games have included double-doubles in most contests, including 24 points and 12 rebounds against the Worldwide Renegades on Sunday in Atlanta.

"I owe so much to Coach Ingram and the Arkansas Hawks," Sanchez said . "I have been playing with the Hawks since I was in the second grade and this summer all that work has really paid off for me. I can't thank him and my teammates enough."

Pelphrey, who took over as head coach in April, stormed down the recruiting stretch by landing Sanchez and Britt a day before the spring signing period ended to join Rakestraw and a batch of returnees that have been projected as high as No. 8 in one early poll for next season.

"We are going to have a great team and one that should have a chance to get Arkansas right back to the top," Sanchez said. "I think it's going to be a great season and I am very excited I am going to get to be a part of it and the future at Arkansas."


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