INDIANAPOLIS - University of Arkansas head basketball coach Stan Heath will see a lot of high school basketball players in the next four days, including one he can take great pleasure in beating the rush to see.
That would be Miami (Fla.) Calusa Prep star Denis Clemente, a 6-1, 170-pound point guard who the nation came upon after Heath and his staff unearthed him so to speak and went to see in February.
"You have got to give Arkansas all the credit for discovering him and working hard to get in position to sign him before he started blowing up and everybody else came running," Miami Tropics AAU head coach Art Alverez said. "He loves them and I think we are going to get up there on an unofficial visit in August before school starts and maybe get this thing done."
Clemente, who averaged 34.2 points and 11.8 assists this past season, is one of four Tropics players here at the Nike All-America Camp this week along with Florida commit David Huertas and juniors Jason Bennett (7-1, 230) and Josue Soto (6-0, 150), who plans to commit to the University of Miami at the end of the summer.
Clemente, Huertas and Bennett are all on the same team at Nike and all three shined in a practice game Wednesday night with Arkansas' target scoring 8 points while taking only four shots and dishing out 6 assists.
That included a couple of 3-pointers, one of many facets of his game that has wowed onlookers and one that came into play in a recent 43-point outing in the semifinals of a North Carolina Super Regional tournament the Tropics ended up winning.
"He's just been playing phenomenal," Alverez said. "He's been averaging just under 23 points this summer and really passing the ball well. He had 43 in that semifinal game and averaged over 30 in that tournament, the last one we played. He was a our best player there."
Clemente was one of five players named to the National Christian School All-American team, an honor that comes into better perspective when you realize he joined recent No. 1 NBA draft pick Dwight Howard and Kentucky signee Randolph Morris on the first time.
"That's such an honor for him, but he is just such a great player, a great scorer, some one that is just incredibly fast and one that can gets his teammates involved," Alverez said.
The young man is also drawing interest from Florida, Miami, Florida State, Georgia Tech, North Carolina State and Baylor just to name a few.
"It will be interesting to see how much he blows up even more this week and who tries to get in the picture after the camp," Alverez said. "But it may be too late for everybody else. We really like Arkansas it would be great to have two playing in the SEC, one with Arkansas and one with Florida. That would be fun to see."
Clemente Still Enamored with Arkansas
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