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: Oct 23, 2009
Posted on: June 18, 2011 8:00 pm

Mike Anderson commits sin against coaching code

Anderson did a nice job at Mizzou, but before Anderson, Missouri basketball history already included 15 conference championships, and 5 post-season conference tournament championships.  So Anderson did not make the program respectable and a contender.  It was already respectable and on a par with Arkansas before he got there.  I do hope by the end of his career, he will have built a great resume.

Since: Jul 26, 2007
Posted on: June 18, 2011 3:41 pm

Mike Anderson commits sin against coaching code

Nice misleading title to the article.  Anderson chose to invoke his right as a coach to not grant a release, at least until the whole thing became public.

This was masterful use of the media by Clarke's father.  He managed to turn a wishy-washy kid's annual change of heart and his own probably racist leanings into a beatdown of the school that gave his kid a ride for three years.

News flash, "Rotnei"--You're good but not all that good.  I'm not sure how many D-1 schools that meet Daddy's criteria (i.e., have a white coach) will want to use a scholarship on you for one year.

I'm neither a fan nor a non-fan of Arkansas.  I just don't like people not being able to make a decision, or parents who use the media to get what they want.  And "Rotnei", I hope that wherever you land, you (and apparently more importantly, Daddy) will be happy. 

Since: Jan 6, 2011
Posted on: June 18, 2011 3:27 pm

Mike Anderson commits sin against coaching code

Got news for you. Arkansas is a mediocre program...

Since: Jun 18, 2011
Posted on: June 18, 2011 2:46 pm

Mike Anderson commits sin against coaching code

Some of you are labeling Mike Anderson mediocre? Thats ridiculous...he has been at mediocre programs (Mizzou and UAB) and made them respectable and contenders moreso than before he got there. Since these experts claim to know mediocre coaches what about Rick Barnes at Texas and Ben Howland at UCLA? They both are at storied programs with huge recruiting bases and have had much talent but have produced very little. Thats the definition of mediocre...Anderson has gotten more out of the players he have recruited than alot of these big time coaches.

Since: Jan 7, 2011
Posted on: June 18, 2011 1:51 pm

Mike Anderson commits sin against coaching code

Mediocre coach for a mediocre program. NCAA should allow any kid to leave when the coach that recruited him is fired and the new hired gun who values money more than anything is brought in. Coaches can leave programs whenever they want for the elusive dollar. Kids have to be able to move as well for much more ethical reasons than the coaches.Arkansas will be looking for another hired gun in 3-5 years. Anderson will get killed in the SEC.

Since: Jul 21, 2008
Posted on: June 18, 2011 12:20 pm

Mike Anderson commits sin against coaching code

FACT: Rotnei Clarke could not cut the practices under Mike Anderson. 

Since: Feb 24, 2007
Posted on: June 18, 2011 11:27 am

Mike Anderson commits sin against coaching code

I agree. This kid is obviously a spoiled immature brat who ran to daddy to gt his way. I am not a razorbacks fan but who needs him? His best chance would have been to stay at Arkansas if he is that good. The coach is by all accounts a good one and would have adapted a game plan for his players strengths. Not to mention the article, or the other one on this page said he was uncetain about playing in an up tempo style. How does he think he is going to play at the next level if he can't run the floor?

Anyway he wasn't that good at 15 pts a game to have anyone fighting over him and since he only has one year of eligibility who is going to waste a roster spot on him? Maybe a Shaka Smart who wil be trying to hold onto his 15 minutes of fame a litte longer, or maybe another school just removed from being good like Gonzaga or George Mason.

ANyway I am glad this whiney baby finally got what he wanted. Recruits should not be afraid to sign with this coach. if he recruits them and they do their due dilligence then they should not be looking for a coach that will let them out of their deal if they want. They should be committed to the university. As for the guy srecruited by the previuos coach, they too should be allowed to transfer if they wish. That is a differetn story all together as they have value with four years remaining. Howeve they too should have made their decision at least partially on the university and what it has to offer and not so much the coach, or at least give this guy a chance to show them they should stay.

Maryland di that and then granted 3 recruits their release. one resigned anyway, and one didn't because the coach had a kid he had already recruited that he liked better. The 3rd was a big soft kid and i am glad he went to the PAC 10 where he will probably fit right in.

Since: Oct 6, 2006
Posted on: June 18, 2011 10:47 am

Mike Anderson commits sin against coaching code

Clarke was granted his release last night.

Clarke was not asked to "sleep" on his decision for two months.  He asked for his release when Pelphrey was fired.  AD Jeff Long asked him to wait until he met the new coach.  Rotnei met with Anderson, and he decided he was going to stay.  he asked for his release again over the last few days.  Anderson did grant him the release last night.

He asked for his release after the 2009-10 season, and obviously decided to stay.  This makes three times he asked for it.  The young man needs to make a decision and stick with it.  Personally, I am glad he has been released.  I think the Razorback basketball program will be better in the long run because of it.

Since: Mar 15, 2009
Posted on: June 18, 2011 10:13 am

Anderson is an idiot

Good riddance Anderson....!  I would be lying if I said I was worried somewhat about him leaving however the way he handled the situation at Mizzou and how he has handled himself so far in hogville...I am absolutely thrilled that he his gone as Haith has already out recruited Anderson in his 6 years he was here.

Since: Mar 4, 2007
Posted on: June 18, 2011 8:07 am

Mike Anderson commits sin against coaching code

This is childish (and churlish) behavior on Anderson's part.  Clarke is going to get his release, so go ahead and give it to him already.  Maybe Clarke has asked to leave every year, and maybe that act does get old, but he is a kid and Anderson is an adult. 

Wouldn't it be great if the players at a school could refuse to give their COACH a release to leave for another job?  After that coach recruited them by building a close relationship, with promises of commitment, loyalty, etc.?

We'd see how the coaches liked that.  Dick Vitale, the coaches' best friend, would be screaming like a banshee if the shoe were on the other foot, instead of lecturing 19-year-olds about commitment and maturity. 

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