Clemente sets up official visit to UA

Miami Tropics point guard Denis Clemente gets good news on his SAT and sets up an official visit to the University of Arkansas for June 1-3. Dudley E. Dawson talks about this and other items in his weekly recruiting column.

Because it got on the Denis Clemente bandwagon way before any one else, the University of Arkansas will get first chance to play host on the Miami prep star's official visit tour.

It could even be the only tour stop for the 6-1, 180-pound junior point guard according to Miami Tropics' AAU coach Art Alverez, who coaches the Puerto Rico native during the spring and summer.

"We just got done a few minutes ago setting up what is now an official visit to Arkansas and he is very excited about it," Alverez said. "Right now the plan is for him to take all five of his official visits, but I wouldn't rule out - if everything goes well when he gets up there - him going ahead and verbaling to Arkansas and canceling the other four visits."

Clemente, who averaged 32 points and 11.8 assists this past season at Miami Calusa Prep, got good news on Monday when he got his first attempt back at the SAT and scored high enough (740) on it to be eligible next season if he maintains his current grade point average.

"That was great news," said Alverez about Clemente, who was originally scheduled to come to Fayetteville on an unofficial visit, but will now make it an official trek. "Everything's going real well for Denis right now."

Since a standout performance at the Kingwood Classic in Houston back on March 23-25 in which he shot the ball extremely well, Clemente has had scholarship offers pouring in for him to consider.

That list now numbers Arkansas, Florida, Miami, Florida State, Georgia Tech, North Carolina State and Baylor to name a few for a young man that was unheralded before leading the Florida prep ranks in scoring after moving from Puerto Rico last summer.

"It's just like I thought it would be," Alverez said. "He blew up at the Kingwood and everybody came jumping on board."

It was also at Kingwood where Razorback head coach Stan Heath, who began recruiting Clemente in February before anyone else, moved closer to making Clemente to Arkansas more of a possibility."

"Stan is so impressive," Alverez said. "He is a very sincere guy and has told Denis that he is going to give him the chance to run his team right away as a freshman. He's also told him that if he commits to Arkansas, he will not recruit any more point guards.

"But we also know that why that is the case, he'll have to earn it," Alverez said. No coach can truly promise a starting job - at least one that's truthful - but he has promised him a chance to be the starting point guard as a freshman and that's all you can ask and you juts have to earn it."

Arkansas would like to also nab a second Miami Tropics standout in 6-4, 190-pound off guard David Huertas, who like fellow Puerto Rico native Clemente will attend the Nike All-America Camp in Indianapolis on July 6-10.

"He has been offered by truly every major program in the country from Arkansas to Kansas to Arizona to Georgia Tech, North Carolina State, LSU, Florida, Miami, Florida State. Louisville and so on," Alverez said.

Huertas will not take visits until after he takes his SAT in June, but will likely then visit Louisville, Kansas, Arizona , Florida and maybe Arkansas.

"He'll likely go to Louisville first and will probably do that right after the Nike Camp," Alverez said. "I must tell you Arkansas has also offered David and it is very intriguing for us to think about Denis and David playing together in college."

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While Heath tries to continues to load up on the court, Razorback head football coach Houston Nutt just wants to get out of court after today and be free to continue to take advantage of this current grid recruiting period.

Nutt will be back on the stand today as the Nolan Richardson trail resumes after a five-day break and hopes that his testimony will only be needed for one more day.

He's certainly been busy before the court break and will be busy after court finishes with visits. Some of the ones he has already seen or will see this week include the Arkansas High duo of running back Brandon Barnett (5-9, 188), Blytheville quarterback Brice Beck (6-5, 230), North Little Rock's Jamar Love (6-2, 190), Hoxie offensive lineman Drew Gardner (6-4, 310) and Memphis offensive lineman Malcom Rawls (6-4, 303) just to name a few.

"It's an important time for us," Nutt said. "You've got to get out and see kids and be seen. You can't waste any time."

Nutt, entering his seventh year at Arkansas, has already gotten off to a great start in recruiting with four commitments, including two that are top 100 players nationally in Pulaski Oak Grove running back Darren McFadden and Texas prep defensive end Marcus Shavers.

Throw in quarterback Casey Dick, Shavers teammate at Allen High, and former signee and current Butler County (Kan.) prospect Brannon Kidd. "We're off to a great start, but we have to just keep it going," Nutt said.

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Another Memphis player that Arkansas would love to haul in during this football recruiting season is Harding Academy's Todd Cox, a 6-1, 195-pound linebacker.

He has offers already from Cox received early offers from Arkansas, Oklahoma, LSU, Ole Miss, USC, North Carolina, and Tennessee, Miami, South Carolina, Southern Miss, North Carolina State, Memphis and Louisville.

Cox told the Insiders network that he is wide open at this point.

"I'm not sure yet which schools I'm considering. I'm really looking at everyone right now."

There certainly has been a lot of foot traffic at the Memphis school lately.

"Just about everyone has been here," Cox said. "There are about two or three coaches here everyday."


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