While he and his staff have been busy working on 2008 recruiting, University of Arkansas head basketball coach John Pelphrey and his staff were hoping to land one more prospect for 2007.
That effort – which included sending assistant Tom Ostrom overseas – paid off with the announcement Monday of the signing Levan Patsasia (6-6, 205), a shooting guard who was recently named the national team player of the year for the country of Georgia.
The 18-year-old Patsatsia, who is an excellent outside shooter and started orientation in Fayetteville on Monday, will be eligible immediately and thus able to play the 2007-2008 season for the Razorbacks.
"We're excited about the addition of ‘Patsa,'" Pelphrey said. "He is a big guard who can help us with our perimeter shooting. He's an extremely hard worker who I think will be a big part of our future. Looking at our roster, you could tell we needed guard depth and he helps."
Pelphrey and his staff were able to land the athletic sharpshooter away from co-finalist St. John's.
He joins 6-9, 235-pound forward Michael Sanchez and guards Nate Rakestraw and Marcus Britt as 2007 signees.
"We were able to get on Patsa through some of my contacts that I had known previously and respect in this business," Pelphrey said. "Our guard depth is not great. With Nate Rakestraw and Marcus Britt, and now Patsa, hopefully those guys will be able to provide us with some depth."
Patsatsia has lots of international experience, including scoring 27 points in a tournament championship game for FC Barcelona in Spain and being named the MVP and being the leading rebounder in a six-game Christmas tournament while playing for Aaron Sur.
He played for the junior team SSU Sukhumi from ages 10-16 before going to Spain to play and also made the Georgia national team for the FIBA Under-19 World tournament before being sidelined by a broken elbow.
Patsatsia, who might best be compared to former Georgia Tech star and current Utah Jazz guard Matt Harping, was also named the MVP of the Attack Basketball Camp in Spain and was voted the best shooter at the Adidas Top 50 Euro Camp.
"The coaches have told me I play they way they like to play," Patsatsia said. "I am a shooting guard who likes to play in transition."
Arkansas will begin 10 days of practice next week for its upcoming exhibition trip to Cancun.
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