GIDEL: 'Cats Move In On Sanchez

With the Huntington (W. Va.) power forward Patrick Patterson saga arriving at its conclusion, new coach Billy Gillispie decided to spice up the final weeks of the year by offering Michael Sanchez, the newest addition to the recruiting board.

The Kentucky coaching staff offered Michael Sanchez, a 6-foot-8 power forward from Arkansas, as it's first known extension as a coaching staff less than a week after the former Texas A&M head basketball coach took the job.

Gillispie and lead assistant coach Jeremy Cox decided to take the plunge after having recruited Sanchez in College Station.

Sanchez, a 220 pounder from Springdale (Ark.) Har Ber High School, had been mulling over offers from Wake Forest, Tennessee, Arkansas and Michigan, before committing to attend Findlay College Prepatory, just one month ago. He has since labeled it a soft commitment as he's seen his stock rise considerably in recent weeks.

"Most go to prep school because they are trying to get more exposure or better offers but Michael's got some great offers," Bert Sanchez, Michael's father, said. "He's trying to get back playing healthy again and the way that Michael can play."

FCP, located just outside of Las Vegas, is a second year pre-college program that would offer Sanchez the opportunity to not only delay college enrollment one year and open up the possibility of additional recruiting exposure as a 5th-year senior, but also to rest his injured knees and prepare him for the next level.

The knees have been the most talked about bones in the bluegrass state since the Wildcats entered the picture in early April. A former top 50 ranked sophomore, Sanchez saw his ranking drop significantly after a sub-par junior season that ended with a pair of surgical procedures on both of his legs.

"That's the biggest question for me right there," Sanchez said. "Am I better off taking one of these scholarships now and maybe not playing enough or going to Findlay and continue getting better and then going to college? It's a tough decision and one I'll make for sure in the next few weeks or so."

Since his decision to attend Prep School, Sanchez has played remarkably better and looser. He performed so well at The Real Deal on the Hill Tournament that not only Kentucky, but Arkansas and Wake Forest picked up their interest in Sanzhez. His continued his solid play at the Pittsburgh Jam Fest in which Sanchez poured in an average of 20 points and 13 rebounds in route to landing his team in the Elite 8.

"I will make my decision on whether I could get enough playing time to keep developing and getting back that year I basically lost and didn't get any better because of my knees," Sanchez said. "Also how I get along with the players and the coaches and the whole atmosphere."

It is unknown how long the new UK coaching staff will wait on the talented power forward and whether or not the staff will have the luxury of accepting his commitment while waiting on heralded recruit Patrick Patterson.

Patterson, a McDonald's All-American, hasn't publically stated that he has narrowed his list to three, but it is rumored he is down to UK, Duke and Florida. With the signature of former running mate Alex Legion and the possible addition of Jai Lucas, the Wildcats will have his ear, but will they have his signature?

Regardless, Sanchez would help soften the blow to say the least.

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