Arkansas' basketball program is currently hosting a junior college recruit that could be the final piece of its 2012 recruiting puzzle.
Lawson State (AL) Community College power forward Coty Clarke (6-7, 225) – who was the nation's second-leading junior college rebounder last season - began his Razorback official visit on Tuesday.
Clarke – a Birmingham native as are Arkansas head coach Mike Anderson and assistant T.J. Cleveland - averaged 16.2 points, 13.5 rebounds, 5 assists and 2 rebounds last season for head coach Phillip Shumpert.
"He is very excited about the visit and really believes that Arkansas plays a up-tempo style of that really fits him," Shumpert said. "It also means a lot to him that Coach Anderson and Coach Cleveland are Birmingham guys that are like family and would take care of him."
Clarke, who is basically down to Georgia and Arkansas after having over 20 offers, averaged 11.1 points and 11.3 rebounds as a freshman at Lawson after starring as a prep at Birmingham's Pinson Valley High School.
He's been a double-double machine in junior college for Shumpert.
"He is so versatile, a great athlete and just a great player that can score inside and out and is a match-up nightmare," Shumpert said. "I have had him for two years and he had 28 double-doubles, including 23 this season alone. He also had four triple-doubles this season so that just shows you how productive he is.
"He can shoot the ball – over 55 percent from the field this season, over 40 percent from three-point range and over 70 percent from the free throw line," Shumpert said. "Obviously he can rebound as he finished second nationally in that this season and he is also a very good passer."
Shumpert said that Clarke – who had a high of 23 rebounds in one game - is also an off-the-court gem as well.
"He is just a great kid with a great work ethic, one that has a 3.34 grade point average and a great character kid," Shumpert said. "He is just one of those kids that you never have to worry about it. He was an absolute joy to coach and he will be for the next coach as well."
Clarke has already visited Bradley, Detroit and Georgia and has offers from Memphis, Nebraska, Auburn and Southern Miss among his 20 or so offers.
"Yes, he had some 20 offers from the start of the season until now – some high majors and some mid-majors – but it has all worked out for him," Shumpert said. "Arkansas came in on him in January and he just really likes Coach Anderson and Coach Cleveland. Like I said, it is just a great fit in terms of style of play for him."
A decision is likely coming very soon.
"It's basically down to Arkansas and Georgia although Auburn would really like for him to visit," Shumpert said. "But he just wants to get up to Arkansas, make sure the campus and the program is everything he thinks and then make a decision.
"I think if it is what he thinks, because he has such a good feeling about the coaches and the style of play, he'll be ready to make his commitment right after," Shumpert added.
A Perfect Fit
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