Clark, Moore Handle Being Throw Into Fray

FAYETTEVILLE — Earlier this week, Arkansas coach John Pelphrey discussed the challenges of increasing the minutes of freshman forwards Andre Clark and Brandon Moore.

A combination of Michael Washington's ailing back, Montrell McDonald's suspension and collective foul trouble has meant that Clark and Moore have seen more minutes than perhaps expected this soon. And Pelphrey resorted to a baby metaphor to describe how quickly Clark and Moore needed to show improvement.

"It makes it tough, especially with Andre and Brandon kind of being in a growth stage, where we need them to get out there and start walking a little bit," Pelphrey said. "They're still kind of stumbling, bumbling around, falling down, banging their head on the end of the coffee tables and stuff. They need to start walking."

While they haven't exactly started running or anything — still using Pelphrey's metaphor — Clark and Moore have proved the past week that they are ready to walk. The most recent example came Wednesday night, when Clark had eight points and five rebounds in 17 minutes and Moore scored three points in eight minutes.

The duo did more to help than hurt in Arkansas' 80-61 victory over Texas Southern in Bud Walton Arena.

"It starts with practice," said Clark, a 6-foot-9 North Little Rock native who redshirted last spring. "We've been trying to figure what the coaches want us to do, trying to understand the system and get into a rhythm for the game. The way we played (Wednesday) reflects the effort in practice."

Earlier this season, Pelphrey wasn't sure what to expect if he put Clark or Moore on the floor. So he didn't.

Clark saw only four minutes of action in Arkansas' first three games, and Moore, a 6-9 native of New Orleans, La., played only three minutes. Both couldn't help getting frustrated at first.

"I understood as a player," Clark said. "But as a human, of course I wanted to be out there on the court. It hurt. But after talking to the coaches and getting support from my family, it helped me calm down."

Clark and Moore both met individually with Pelphrey and Arkansas' assistant coaches before the Hogs' trip to South Alabama, and they credited those meetings with helping them improve.

During the Razorbacks' last three games, Pelphrey hasn't been hesitant to use either of the freshman forwards.

Moore's best effort came Saturday against Florida A&M when he scored nine points in 12 minutes. Clark gave his finest performance Wednesday night when he, among other things, landed on SportsCenter's Top 10 Plays for dunking in an off-the-backboard pass from freshman Courtney Fortson.

Arkansas assistant coach Rob Evans said both players still had much to learn. But he said both exhibited an eager willingness to receive coaching.

"Both of them have some real toughness to them," Evans said. "They both really want to get better, but they also still have so much to try and absorb. If they keep the same attitude they've shown, they have a chance to make us a lot better."

Wednesday's Ticket

North Carolina Central at Arkansas

When: 7:05 p.m.

Where: Bud Walton Arena, Fayetteville

TV: KFTA (Cox Ch. 8)

Radio: KEZA-FM 107.9, KKEG-FM 92.1, KUOA-FM 105.3, KUOA-AM 1290

Records: North Carolina Central Eagles, 0-7; Arkansas Razorbacks, 5-1

Coaches: North Carolina Central, Henry Dickerson (fifth season); Arkansas, John Pelphrey (second season)


Class: Freshman

Position: Forward

Height: 6-foot-9

Weight: 218 pounds

Hometown: North Little Rock

High School: North Little Rock High

Notables: Earned all-state honors at NLR West High as a senior after averaging 17 points, six rebounds and three blocked shots. ... Played his AAU ball during the summer of 2007 with the Arkansas Hawks and averaged 25 points and eight rebounds while competing alongside Arkansas teammate Michael Sanchez. ... Enrolled at Arkansas for the 2008 spring semester and started practice after attending Genesis One Christian School for the 2007 fall semester.


Class: Freshman

Position: Forward

Height: 6-foot-9

Weight: 215 pounds

Hometown: New Orleans, La.

High Schools: Holy Cross High in New Orleans (three years), Episcopal Collegiate School in Little Rock (sophomore year)

Notables: Led his Episcopal Collegiate School team to 26 wins and a berth in the state semifinals as a sophomore after being displaced because of Hurricane Katrina. ... Averaged 16 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks as a junior and 17 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks as a senior at Holy Cross High. ... Went to the third round of the playoffs as a junior and the first round as a senior with Holy Cross, which lost many players who didn't return to New Orleans.

Hawgs Daily Top Stories