Well the saga looks to be over. As we recapped last week, Rotnei Clarke wanted out of Arkansas perhaps even earlier than the rumors that John Pelphrey was getting fired began. When Pelphrey was officially let go, Clarke asked for his release but was convinced to wait and see who the coach would be and if he fit with his system. Rotnei did, and then again requested his release one week ago. However it was initially denied, and neither new head coach Mike Anderson nor the Arkansas Athletic Director would return Clarke’s phone call. However, it looks like cooler heads have prevailed, as the word out of Arkansas is that Rotnei has been freed.
So the question now begins as to where he will take his talents.
Rotnei was a super star at Arkansas, and after sitting out a year due to the transfer, will have one year of eligibility left. The last two seasons he averaged 15 points, including a 26 point monster game against Kentucky. Many of you would like to see Clarke in Kentucky blue – and I won’t lie, I’m a fan of his as well. Kid can straight up ball. But one of his concerns with Arkansas publicly has been about being forced to play a more up tempo game with Mike Anderson, and his skills (while great) don’t necessarily translate well to the dribble drive offense. I have no doubt that if Calipari decided Clarke would fit well with Ryan Harrow in the back court, he would flourish. But I find it unlikely that either side would heavily pursue the other.
Another possible destination (and this is strictly a hunch, no inside information,) could be to Texas Tech with Billy Gillispie. As you remember, Billy recruited Rotnei back when he was at Kentucky but both decided to go their separate ways when Clarke wanted more time to make a commitment and Billy pressured him a bit for an answer. However, up until that falling out, Clarke had been a big fan of the program and Coach Gillispie, the style of play would likely be one he would fit well in (so long as he would stop shooting so much.) But the reality of it is, he will most likely go somewhere that will have no UK ties and effectively end me caring about him as a player. So somewhere like Oklahoma.
Where would you like to see Clarke?