Delaware State No Pushover Foe

FAYETTEVILLE -- Arkansas coach John Pelphrey didn't do his Razorbacks any favors judging from the mid-major programs he scheduled. Later on, Arkansas will have games with sleeper schools such as Northwestern (La.) State, Appalachian State, Oral Roberts and Missouri State.

The string of potentially dangerous opponents begins at 2:05 p.m. Saturday with Delaware State, a Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference squad that won 21 games last season. The Hornets missed out on the NCAA Tournament when they narrowly lost their conference's tournament championship game.

Roy Bright, a 6-foot-6 senior forward and transfer from Cincinnati, leads the Hornets (2-2). Pelphrey attempted to recruit Bright to South Alabama.

"He's a wing player who can also play around the basket," Pelphrey said. "He's got a great body. He's strong, physical and athletic. He's been in these environments before."

The Hornets are led by eighth-year coach Greg Jackson, who Arkansas assistant coach Rob Evans faced when he was at Arizona State.

"Any time you have a good coach, a guy that knows what he's doing, that's dangerous," Evans said. "And we know that. We don't take anybody for granted. John has made it real clear with these guys. Our biggest thing is, we're preparing for every game equally.

Preparing for Delaware State is the same as preparing for Kentucky."

Clarke To Arkansas

Oklahoma prep guard Rotnei Clarke, who is on pace to break the state's all-time scoring record, was expected to sign with Arkansas late Wednesday night. Clarke was to announce his choice on the 10 p.m. newscast of Tulsa TV station KTUL, after today's edition of The Morning News went to press.

A source close to Clarke, a 6-foot-1, 180-pounder, said the Verdigis High point guard was planning on signing with Arkansas. Clarke had narrowed his options to Arkansas, Oklahoma State and Oral Roberts.

The Razorbacks already had signed four players before Wednesday night -- Memphis high school point guard Courtney Fortson, New Orleans high school forward Brandon Moore and Genesis One Academy guard Terrence Joyner and forward Andre Clark.

Rakestraw Progressing

Freshman guard Nate Rakestraw had pins taken out of his injured right pinky finger as Pelphrey spoke Wednesday.

The Springdale Har-Ber graduate hurt the finger in mid-October and is on schedule to be back no later than four weeks from now, Pelphrey said.

A return two weeks from now is not out of the question, Pelphrey said.

"We'll probably get a re-evaluation here in a couple of days, and see where he's at," Pelphrey said. "I thought Nate, when he left, was playing very well. Probably after Stefan (Welsh), he was the first guard off the bench. It'll be nice to have him back."

Competition For Spots

Pelphrey issued no promises as far as Arkansas' starting lineup for Saturday's game. The Razorbacks opened the season with the same starting five in their first two games -- Gary Ervin at point guard, Patrick Beverley at shooting guard, Sonny Weems at small forward, Charles Thomas at power forward and Steven Hill at center.

Michael Washington replaced Thomas for Arkansas' third game, and Welsh replaced Ervin for the Hogs' last game in Puerto Rico.

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