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 5, 2006
Posted on: June 18, 2011 1:41 am

Mike Anderson vs Rotnei Clarke

It seems unnecessarily harsh to call out coach Anderson for a 'sin against coaching code'. Perhaps it is the word sin. Coach Anderson has the right to say no. The university has invested two years in this young student-athlete. He has had his books, tuition, room and board and spending money furnished. He has had expert instruction in the art of playing basketball. He has been successful.

On the other hand the athlete is not a slave. He has the right to leave whenever he wishes. Perhaps applying to sign a pro contract in Europe might be better for him than being treated this way. We all know that the university makes money from their basketball and football players. He has surely earned his tuition etc. He should be free to transfer.

Now the real casualty, as alluded to above, is the university's reputation with recruits. Players for the next few years will feel queasy about committing to Arkansas while Anderson is coach. What parent will not identify with Mr. Clarke as he agonizes over his son's unhappiness. Mr. Anderson - let your people go!

Since: Jan 20, 2008
Posted on: June 18, 2011 12:34 am

Mike Anderson commits sin against coaching code

Top 5??? Really???

Since: Aug 27, 2006
Posted on: June 18, 2011 12:13 am

Mike Anderson commits sin against coaching code

So what if the kid has asked for his release three years in a row? So what if he and his dad put this out there. If so, let him go and good riddance.

What are you Arkies thinking? This is wy your program has gone from a top 5 program to a mediocre program in a mediocre conference.

Since: Jun 17, 2011
Posted on: June 17, 2011 11:11 pm

Mike Anderson commits sin against coaching code

This article blows and everyone should know by now that Rotnei has done this 3 years running and he agreed to stay in April only to now change his mind.  Just more of John Pelphrey's backlash, if Pel had let this kid walk two season ago he would be an afterthought. 

Since: Aug 26, 2006
Posted on: June 17, 2011 10:21 pm

Mike Anderson commits sin against coaching code

I love Rotnei Clarke and I want him to stay. I think he would do well in Anderson's system (like Pat Bradley, etc.). But if he wants to leave, then let him. We have no right pretty much holding him "prisoner" at the U of A. It doesn't look good at all to those thinking about attending Arkansas.

Since: Jun 17, 2011
Posted on: June 17, 2011 8:56 pm

Mike Anderson commits sin against coaching code

You might also consider that this info was put out there by Rotnei and his father, who honestly seems to not like folks who aren't white. That kinda leaves CMA out. I can't believe so-called journalists take one side of a story and run with it as "the truth." I call BS.

Since: Jan 4, 2009
Posted on: June 17, 2011 8:38 pm

Mike Anderson commits sin against coaching code

Forget Al Dillard. Pat Bradley thrived as a starter with a very similar game to Rotnei. In fact, Rot is even better as a ballhandler and has learned how to create his own shot, better than even Bradley.

The bottom line is that Rot keeps changing his mind. In a few months, he'll want to be a Hog again. This is the third time he's asked for a release. The previous two he has said he decided he wanted to stay. This is not a normal circumstance.

Since: Jun 17, 2011
Posted on: June 17, 2011 8:30 pm

Mike Anderson commits sin against coaching code

1. College basketball games are 40 minutes long
2. It sounds to me like Rotnei has made up his mind
3. Yes CMA is breaking one of the unwritten rules of running a program
4. If you are CMA why would you want someone in your program who doesn't want to be there
5. Even if the recruits re-committed after CMA was hired, this whole situation allows for others to second guess that, and just the rumor and talk of it is damaging within recruiting circles. (You don't think other coaches are telling recruits right now about how CMA hasn't allowed three players to make their own decisions) Not very smart by Coach Anderson

Just because you are a Hogs backer, doesn't mean you have to blindly support this move.  Be open minded and realistic about this situation it isn't good for anyone involved, don't be a lemming.

Since: Jun 17, 2011
Posted on: June 17, 2011 6:33 pm

Mike Anderson commits sin against coaching code

How would clarke not be a fit for anderson's system? Ever heard of Al Dillard?

The recruits originally asked for their release after pelphrey was fired but then decided to stay after Anderson was hired...Rotnei just needs to make up his mind. He would thrive in this system but he wants all 60 minutes of the game i guess

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