Arkansas takes hard line, won't release leading scorer Clarke

by | CBSSports.com
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Arkansas coach Mike Anderson won't let Rotnei Clarke leave.

Clarke, the Razorbacks leading scorer from a year ago and arguably the top shooter in the entire country, has asked for a transfer from the program on two separate occasions.

Oklahoma native Rotnei Clarke averaged 15.2 ppg for the Razorbacks in 2010-11. (Getty Images)  
Oklahoma native Rotnei Clarke averaged 15.2 ppg for the Razorbacks in 2010-11. (Getty Images)  
Clarke asked for his release shortly after the coaching change that brought Anderson to Arkansas in March. He was told to take some time -- and asked Anderson for his release again this past Monday.

But Anderson and athletic director Jeff Long have not given Clarke his release. Clarke said he has attempted to reach Long over the past few days since Anderson told him in a meeting earlier this week that he would not be let go.

CBSSports.com has also been unsuccessful in attempts to reach Long, Anderson and a member of Anderson's coaching staff seeking comment.

The school's unwillingness to allow Clarke to transfer comes shortly after Anderson enabled senior point guard Jeff Peterson and forward Glenn Bryant to go elsewhere.

"I have spent the last couple of months getting to know Coach Anderson, his staff and his system," Clarke told CBSSports.com. "And I still feel as though it's best for me to finish my career somewhere else."

Clarke is concerned his game may not mesh well with Anderson's up-tempo style.

"I love the school and the fans," Clarke added. "But I just don't feel as though it's the best fit for me basketball-wise -- and it's tough watching guys like Jeff and Glenn be able to go somewhere else, where I'm not able to."

Clarke, according to sources, isn't the only one Anderson hasn't allowed to explore other opportunities.

Two members of Arkansas' highly regarded recruiting class -- which was assembled by former coach John Pelphrey and his coaching staff -- both asked Anderson for their release.

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It's basically an unwritten rule that, following a coaching change, recruits are released from their letters-of-intent if they want to play elsewhere.

Maryland signee Sterling Gibbs was released and is headed to Texas, George Washington signee Eric Copes wound up at George Mason -- and even N.C. State sophomore point guard Ryan Harrow was allowed to leave and has transferred to Kentucky.

Clarke, if he does transfer, would sit out this season and have one more year of eligibility.

Clarke, a 6-foot Oklahoma native, averaged 15.2 points as a junior, shot nearly 44 percent from beyond the arc and expanded his overall game. He averaged 21.4 points and shot 52 percent from 3-point range over the final eight games of the season.

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