Blog Entry

Mike Anderson commits sin against coaching code

Posted on: June 17, 2011 5:42 pm
Edited on: June 17, 2011 6:26 pm
By Matt Norlander

Every coach knows the code. If a player asks to be released from his team and his scholarship, you do it. As a coach, you have control over a lot of aspects of your players' lives from the time they step on campus until the time they graduate or leave for one reason or another. Leaving is the key component, though. Whenever that comes, that's on the player to decide, so long as he's not violating team rules, under-performing or acting delinquently. 

Dictating whether a player has to stay at the school is one of the few areas where said player should hold the power.

Rotnei Clarke repeatedly asked for, and was not given, his official release from Arkansas by new coach Mike Anderson, according to Jeff Goodman's story. Clarke, the Razorbacks' leading scorer last season, attended Arkansas because John Pelphrey recruited him there a few years ago. He doesn't jell with Anderson's rip-and-run system.

Clarke is not a rogue defector, either. Jeff Peterson was allowed to sign paperwork that enabled him to transfer to another school. Glenn Bryant also wanted -- and got -- his transfer from the program. There's something about Anderson and his system that a lot of in-house guys don't like. We're talking to seniors that are leaving to get one more year in of hoops at a place where they think they'll get more out of themselves than Anderson's way at Arkansas. All transfers will have to sit out and wait until the 2012-13 season to play.

Clarke, one of the best shooters in college basketball, originally tried to leave before Bryant did but was asked to sleep on it -- for two months. He still wants out. It's his right to leave. There is no pre-existing relationship to patch up; only a fractured, once-polite philosophical disagreement between star player and incoming coach.

Why is Anderson being so stubborn and thinking he can keep a kid on campus who won't be happy there? What coach wants to bring that dynamic into his locker room after dragging it along in the offseason?

Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long is on the hook here, too; he has the power to grant Clarke his release and supersede Anderson. He's sided with his new coach, as both men are hoping Clarke succumbs to the college basketball equivalent of Stockholm Syndrome, something that has happened with teams before. Rarely are player and program better for it.

Anderson has no real excuse here. The reason for Clarke wanting to leave is irrelevant. If he wants out -- and his father is in full support of this move, too -- then he should be let out. This blog post shouldn't be happening. Mike Anderson, give up the Clarke ghost. The new Hogs coach should be thrilled that Pelphrey's impressive 2011 class remained on board when he got the job in March. He somehow convinced all the freshmen to stay, according to Goodman's story.

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.

That reflects badly already on Anderson, a successful coach in his five season at Missouri and four seasons before that at UAB. Winning cures so much, but Anderson hasn't done that yet at Arkansas. This kind of behavior, not letting kids get their transfer, or making it very tough to do so, gets around. Recruits, coaches, AAU guys ... they talk. If Arkansas and Anderson want to build a successful, long-term model, they can't prevent the team's best player from leaving.

As much as it stings now, they'll be better for it in the long run if they let Clarke leave.

Photo: AP

Since: Dec 13, 2010
Posted on: June 20, 2011 9:36 am

Mike Anderson commits sin against coaching code

First, you guys need to realize is that Zeke is a self hating Razorback.  He only comes out to bash the program.  I have never once, on any message board, seen him support the U of A.  I have, however seen him banned on almost every Arkansas board because he continually makes arguments with no substance just to troll.  If there is an article about the Razorbacks he will write negative comments.  So take everything he says, ball it up, and throw it in the trash along with the cell phone he will try to sell you. 

By the way, Zeke, how are cell phone sales treating you in the current economy?

Secondly, this article(?) did hit on something true.  There is something that about Anderson and his system that a lot of in-house guys don't like. He is making the free schollie free loaders actually work, something Pel didn't seem to enforce.  They don't like 6:00 AM workouts.  They don't like going to class.  They don't like actually having to earn their way.  God forbid they have to learn some sort of work ethic.

When Long comes back from vacation, he will talk to the perennially possible transfer in Clarke, as he has with every transfer request, and he will wish him a good life.  Clarke is just being a whiny baby and running to the media(?) and making up stories (recruiting class) because he didn't want to wait one week and go through protocol.

Since: Jun 3, 2011
Posted on: June 20, 2011 2:58 am

Mike Anderson commits sin against coaching code

"Anderson's hire HAS reunited the fan base."

Not even close or is that why the article you state -- from months ago -- begins with "hoping to keep momentum alive?"  (sigh)

I won't hold not being a fan against you but that would imply that you are woefully unfamiliar with the nuances involved during the past twenty years.  As an alum, I was THERE during the pinnacle and maintain relationships within the area.

Let's get some things straight:

1.  Increased interest does NOT imply agreement with any hire.  (Many are interested in watchng the potential train wreck.)
2.  Bringing in Anderson invites past and present drama (already occurring!) regardless of any coaching ability.
3.  Anderson has immediately compounded the error by not granting an IMMEDIATE release to ANY player who requests one.

As you admit to being a non-fan who lives in the Rock, I find it interesting that you feel confident in speaking for the fanbase and what they "hunger" for.  My presumption would have been something closer to no drama, program respectablity, and not wallowing in a system that hasn't won consistently -- ANYWHERE including UAB and Missouri -- in over fifteen years.

But hey, that's just me.

No drama and programmatic respectability starts with letting anyone leave who doesn't want to be in Fayetteville.

Since: Feb 13, 2008
Posted on: June 19, 2011 8:28 pm

Mike Anderson commits sin against coaching code

Kid needs to get even. Every time it's late in the game and it's close, throw the ball to the opposing team for a fast break. This is ridiculous for Anderson to not release the kid, it's obvious he doesn't want be there.

Since: Jun 18, 2011
Posted on: June 19, 2011 3:43 pm

Mike Anderson commits sin against coaching code

Anderson's hire HAS reunited the fan base. This article shows interest has increased and its generating into ticket renewals and as the comments show there is a waiting list on suites in the arena which the newspaper confirms. This hire HAS reunited the fan base. I am not a razorback fan but I live in LR and there are hog fans who have disconnected themself with the program for years. The fans have hungered for this style of play moreso than Anderson. It fed the fans frenzy and gave the fans something to be proud of.

Since: Jun 3, 2011
Posted on: June 19, 2011 1:10 pm

Mike Anderson commits sin against coaching code

"...hiring Anderson reunited the fan base..."


Hiring Mike Anderson immediaely recodified the rift that has been in place since Nolan Richardson -- appropriately -- called out "ye olde boy network."

And, now, Anderson (whom I like) makes things worse by acting foolish in not granting a kid his IMMEDIATE release upon request.


Yes, you can sell that Anderson doesn't have final word and all of the apologist crap but let's get real...  (sigh)

Since: Jan 18, 2007
Posted on: June 19, 2011 1:00 pm

Mike Anderson commits sin against coaching code

It sounds like this kid has wanted out several times before.  Mike Anderson is a really good coach who will win big once his players buy into his system and train hard.  If the Arkansas fans posting here are right, these kids haven't had to really train or work hard in the offseason before.   I hate to say it, but it's the player's choice to leave the program, even if it's going to end up hurting him.  I believe Anderson would make this kid shut up and get better, but if he doesn't have the stones for that, Arkansas will be better off without him.  The wins will come eventually anyway.

Since: Jun 4, 2007
Posted on: June 19, 2011 11:59 am

Mike Anderson commits sin against coaching code

I noticed a lot of facts omitted to push the "journalists" agenda.  First, he fails to point out that Rotnei toyed with leaving the program last year while Pelphrey was still coach.  The other fact is that Jeff Long is out of town on vacation.  He has always been very hands-on and meets with every student-athlete asking for release.  He met with Rotnei last time he wanted to leave so why would this time be any different.  Instead, he runs to the media to try and humiliate the program into releasing him.

I am amused with the Mizzou fans coming out of the woodwork to slam Anderson and Arkansas as "mediocre" and that Mizzou is on the same level as Arkansas.  Can I get some pictures of all your Final Four and Championship banners?

Since: Mar 6, 2007
Posted on: June 19, 2011 10:45 am

Mike Anderson commits sin against coaching code

disagree hiring Anderson reunited the fan base that was tired of watching bad basketball.  Anderson will win at Arkansas and win at a high level. 

Since: Jun 3, 2011
Posted on: June 19, 2011 2:56 am

Mike Anderson commits sin against coaching code

I like Mike Anderson but there's no "win" for him -- or my alma mater -- by him returning.

1.  He's not Nolan.
2.  If he were, not everyone wants that.
3.  There's nowhere for him to go but down.

The University, still, hasn't taken the clean break necessary to spur growth and advancement.  Instead, we're looking back to nearly TWENTY years ago and desperately trying to foster the revitalization of an age that is never going to exist again.

There are those who will try to spin this player's late release as being the fault of the undergrad.  IT'S NOT.

It's merely the beginning of past drama and baggage working itself to the surface via having made a poor strategic hire: regardless of whether Anderson can coach.

Arkansas (we!) ASKED for it by making this hire.

Cut the ties and foster a NEW legacy.

Since: Mar 6, 2007
Posted on: June 18, 2011 9:20 pm

Mike Anderson commits sin against coaching code

Clarke asked for his release last year before Pelphrey left, Pelphrey talked him into staying.  The kid didn't want to do anything but shoot the ball he argued conditioning and defensive drills with Pelphrey and Anderson is putting the players through living HELLO without the o.  Anderson didn't want to release him because he knew he could mold him into a good player that had a chance at the next level, but Clarke doesn't have the heart. 

Arkansas fans, the defections aren't finished.  The players Pelphrey had simply aren't use to the weight room and running.  Its no wonder Arkansas blew so many games in the final 10 minutes last season. 

I never passed judgement on Pelphrey and thought he should of been given more time, but after seeing first hand and hearing from the players that they never had hard practices or were never forced to have pick up games and summer conditioning I quickly realized Pelphrey didn't need to stay. 

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