Mutually Impressive

John Pelphrey's new red Hummer rolled into Verdigris (Okla.) earlier this week and impressed standout Rotnei Clarke, who in turn electrifies the new University of Arkansas head basketball coach with a sparkling workout that immediately lands him yet another offer.

It's not often that a shiny new Red Hummer shows up in the Verdigris (Okla.) High parking lot.

So it was quite noticeable when one was there on Wednesday as 6-foot junior guard Rotnei Clarke made his way from the weight room to the school's gym.

"I was thinking 'man, that's pretty sweet,'" Clarke said.

Turns out that red Hummer is the new ride of new University of Arkansas basketball coach John Pelphrey, who has a fan in Sandra Kuntzweiler, Clarke's grandmother who lives in Fayetteville.

"She called and said something like how can you turn down a guy who drives a Razorback hummer?" Clarke said while laughing. "She's a big Razorback fan and really wants me to go to school there."

As does Pelphrey, who needed just a few minutes of watching Clarke on Wednesday to know he needed to be offered that day.

"Coach Pelphrey was watching him play and just shaking his head," noted Conley Clarke, Rotnei's dad said. "We were impressed with Coach Pelphrey and he was impressed with Rotnei."

Of course, it would he hard for anyone not to be impressed with Clarke, a pure shooter who averaged a state-leading 37.6 points last season while hitting an amazing 52 percent from 3-point range.

The sharpshooter knocked down 4 3-pointers and had 12 points for Team Texas in limited action in its opening round win of the Next Level Ballers AAU Tournament on Friday night.

He is on pace to be the state of Oklahoma's all-time leading scorer, but enjoys AAU ball and being able to play alongside buddy Willie Warren and other Division I prospects.

"There's no pressure on me to have to score so much like there is in high school," Clarke said. "I really get a chance to just be a true point guard while playing with great players like Willie."

Clarke has over 20 scholarship offers now and his dad said that 11 schools are planning to be in Verdigris on Monday, the last day that coaches can be out in the current recruiting period.

"It's been crazy, but I give all the glory to God for the opportunities that he has given me," said Clarke, who said he plans to narrow his list down to 10 or so before the end of the summer.

He'll have the opportunity to get to know Pelphrey better by that time.

"He seems like a really high class guy and I am very impressed with what I know of him so far," Clarke said. "I'm looking forward to talking to him more and learning about his style of play and just more about him."

Conley Clarke, who has been as assistant at Verdigris, was named the director of basketball operations at ORU earlier this week.

Obviously there has been some speculation that the son might join his dad.

"It's a great job for him and really helps us out money wise," the younger Clarke said, "but it is not going to be a factor in where I end up at. It was just a great opportunity and job for him and I am proud he is getting that opportunity. We both have a lot to be thankful for to God and been really blessed."

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