Posted on: November 13, 2009 10:58 pm
Edited on: November 14, 2009 8:32 am
John Calipari's Dribble-Drive Motion offense is rooted in the AASAA offense created by UMass assistant Vance Walberg, and the two men are really good friends. They talk all the time, discuss strategy non-stop. But their thoughts on recruiting for the offense have greatly differed in the past, so much so that I can remember Walberg telling me how he begged Calipari to sacrifice a 6-foot-5 athlete for a shooter even if the shooter couldn't do anything but shoot.
Walberg has forever believed a shooter is crucial.
Calipari finally bought in during the summer of 2007 and started recruiting a straight-up shooter.
The shooter's name was Rotnei Clarke.
Calipari didn't get him, of course; Clarke signed with John Pelphrey's Arkansas Razorbacks.
Either way, the sophomore showed Friday why he was a target for a program searching for a shooter by burying a SEC-record 13 3-pointers and finishing with 51 points in a 130-68 victory over Alcorn State. Clarke was 15-of-21 from the field, 13-of-17 from 3-point range and 8-of-9 from the free throw line. He also had five assists and two steals to overtake Ohio State's Evan Turner in the race to see who can have the best box score against Alcorn State.
(Turner had 14 points, 17 rebounds and 10 assists in Monday's win over the Braves; that currently ranks second. Kansas' Cole Aldrich gets his chance Dec. 2. UTEP's Randy Culpepper takes a shot Dec. 19.)
"Damn," read the text-message I got from Clarke's former summer coach, Wes Grandstaff, when I asked whether he knew Clarke was approaching 50 points; Grandstaff coached Clarke and Oklahoma star Willie Warren in the summer of 2007. "[The most Clarke ever got for me was] in the 40s."
(Note: Click this link to read a column I did on Clarke in July 2007, back when he was trying to decide whether to accept a high-major offer or join his father, who is on staff at Oral Roberts.)