FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. –- Arkansas freshman basketball forward Michael Sanchez has been selected to participate in an eight-game exhibition tour of China beginning next week.
Sanchez, who is from Springdale, is one of nine players on the Reach USA squad. His team is scheduled to play eight games against various Chinese professional clubs between May 11-25.
Reach USA is a division of Sports Reach, which is a Christian sports ministry founded 22 years ago for the purpose of reaching the world for Christ through sports.
Reach USA is coached by Jerrance Howard, an assistant coach at Illinois. The assistant coach is Dennis Gates, who is an assistant at Northern Illinois.
Joining Sanchez on the roster are Nick Hughes, a 6-11 center from Southern Illinois; Michael Davis, a 6-9 forward from Illinois; Elgin Bailey, a 6-8 sophomore forward from Mississippi State; Xavier Silas, a 6-5 forward from Northern Illinois; Jermaine Beal, a 6-3 junior guard from Vanderbilt; Demetri McCamey, a 6-3 guard from Illinois; Zach Swansey, a 6-1 sophomore guard from Georgia; and Tyrell Ware, a 6-0 guard from Virginia Intermont.
Sanchez redshirted at Arkansas in 2008. Last fall, he played in a pair of exhibition games with the Razorbacks in Cancun, Mexico, averaging 9.0 points and 4.5 rebounds while shooting 55 percent from the floor.
As a senior at Har-Ber High School in 2007, he averaged 15.8 points, 13.8 rebounds and 7.0 assists in helping the Wildcats go 24-6 and reach the state Class 7A championship game. Sanchez recorded a double-double in every conference game he played, was named first-team All-Arkansas, all-state and to the state all-tournament team.
He averaged 18.0 points and 11.0 rebounds as a junior, and 18.0 points and 12.0 rebounds as a sophomore.
With the loss of four forwards and centers off this year’s 23-12 team, which advanced to the finals of the Southeastern Conference Tournament and reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament, Sanchez is expected to be a key part of head coach John Pelphrey’s frontcourt in 2008-09.