Rakestraw Leaving Razorbacks

FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas freshman guard Nate Rakestraw has decided to leave the school.

His father, P.D. Rakestraw, confirmed Monday night that his son had asked for and received his release from Arkansas. He said his son informed Arkansas coach John Pelphrey of his decision Monday afternoon.

Rakestraw, a Springdale Har-Ber High graduate, committed to former Arkansas coach Stan Heath nearly a year before Pelphrey arrived in Fayetteville.

"I'd say the biggest reason is he wasn't coach Pelphrey's recruit," P.D. Rakestraw said. "It wasn't that he didn't feel accepted at Arkansas. He did. But he never had that relationship with coach Pelphrey, the relationship you form when you go through recruiting.

"He just didn't feel like Pelphrey believed in him. After their end of the year meeting, Nate didn't feel like Pelphrey had confidence in him. He didn't feel like he'd play if he stayed, and Nate wants to play."

That meeting took place last Friday. Afterward, the Rakestraws spent the weekend thinking about the future. Nate Rakestraw came to a decision late Sunday night, P.D. Rakestraw said, met again with Pelphrey on Monday afternoon and asked for his release. Pelphrey signed the papers, he said, making it a "done deal."

Pelphrey and Marvin Caston, assistant athletic director for compliance, couldn't be reached Monday, team spokesman Robby Edwards said.

Rakestraw has endured a difficult season. The 6-foot-4, 206-pounder worked hard to lose almost 30 pounds over the summer, but he suffered a broken right pinky finger in mid-October. He missed almost two months and never found a spot in Pelphrey's rotation when he returned on Dec. 12.

He played in 11 games and didn't score in 33 minutes.

P.D. Rakestraw said his family would spend the next few weeks "talking to contacts" and "putting out feelers." He said they would look into several Southeastern Conference and Big 12 Conference schools. He said they put a call in to Heath at South Florida. He said Missouri State and Oral Roberts were two schools high on his son's list.

He also insisted he and his son were leaving on good terms with the school and with Pelphrey. He said Pelphrey offered his son the chance to work out with the team through the end of the semester.

Even so, P.D. Rakestraw said, the situation pains his son.

"It hurts him," he said. "He'd love to be a Razorback."

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