Shut out just two Saturdays ago in a 75-43 loss at Florida,  Arkansas

shooting guard Rotnei Clarke responded with a week so spectacular it earned him SEC

Player of the Week.

Shut out just two Saturdays ago in a 75-43 loss at Florida,  Arkansas
shooting guard Rotnei Clarke responded with a week so spectacular it earned him SEC
Player of the Week.

The SEC Office Monday in Birmingham, Ala, announced the honor for the junior from
Verdigris, Okla. after his season-high 36 points propelled the Razorbacks to an
89-78 SEC victory over then 19th-ranked Vanderbilt at Vandy’s Memorial Gym in
Nashville, Tenn.

The previous Tuesday Clarke scored 16 points as Arkansas defeated Auburn, 73-64 in a
SEC game at Walton Arena.
What made the difference as Clarke and the Razorbacks, 14-6, 4-3 in the SEC West,
aim for Georgia, 14-6, 3-4 SEC East, in Wednesday’s 8 p.m. game at Walton?

“I think the last two games was as well as he’s moved,” Arkansas coach John Pelphrey
said, “in terms of cutting and in terms of being able to create a little bit for
himself off a pick and roll and quick ball reversal and he’s doing a good job of
reading a defense whether to shoot or pass.”

Clarke made Auburn and Vanderbilt pay a price that Florida didn’t though all plotted
against Arkansas’ 3-point shooting star.

“He is obviously drawing the same amount of attention,” Pelphrey said,  “but he has
been able to create some of those things for himself and then make the right play
whether to shoot the ball or pass it to somebody else. He’s done a better job of
that and the team has operated a little bit better. It’s a combination of both and
maturing and finding ways to have an impact other than just standing behind the
3-point line.”

Clarke said he’s watched film of retired NBA great Reggie Miller, Rip Hamilton of
the Detroit Pistons and college film of former Duke star J.J. Redick moving without
the ball and getting open against defenses specifically designed to stop them.
 Pelphrey called Clarke’s honor  “well deserved” but a “team effort.”

Clarke certainly concurred on the latter.

“It’s a cool accomplishment,” Clarke said, “obviously that doesn’t happen without my
teammates.”

Certainly the unexpected 20 points by junior reserve forward Michael Sanchez plus
Sanchez’s 6-8, 236, screens helped shoot Rotnei’s game to its best against
Vanderbilt.

“He did a lot of things for me,” Clarke said, “especially to open me up. He’s always
setting some tough screens. Even at practice he doe and that carries over into the
games. We work pretty well together and pretty much our whole team worked really
well together that whole game. that was a big factor for us.”

Because Clarke and Sanchez scored 56 points between them at Vandy, Arkansas’ first
true road victory for 2010-2011  tends to be called the Clarke-Sanchez Show. It was
a lot more than a 2-man show, Pelphrey said,  and must be again, he asserted, if the
Razorbacks are to defeat Georgia.

Pelphrey provided Arkansas  examples from the  Vanderbilt game including swingman
Marcus Britt, the senior from Madison via Forrest City High,  point guards Jeff
Peterson and Julysses Nobles and big men Marshawn Powell, Delvon Johnson and Glenn
Bryant  though starters Powell and Johnson were limited by the foul trouble opening
the door for Sanchez.

“Certainly Mike and Rotnei had standout days,” Pelphrey said, “but Marcus Britt made
a really big shot in the first half.  Julysses Nobles made a really big three that
put us from up 12 to 15. Glenn Bryant had two great plays. Jeff Peterson  created a
great sense of place in the first half even when Vanderbilt was scoring. Marshawn
converted a few plays in the limited time he was in there. Delvon had a big putback
and he had a couple of blocked shots. I just like the way everybody was in the mix.
It wasn’t like it was any one person won that game for us. Guys stepped up and made
plays all along the way.”

Just two Saturdays ago the Hogs had to respond from getting their heads pounded by
Florida. Now versus Georgia they’ve got to make sure their heads don’t swell post
Vanderbilt.

“Obviously we have shown some maturity from not performing very well at points in
time this season and then coming back and performing better,” Pelphrey said. “So now
we have the chance to show the maturity in the  reverse. Time will tell to see how
we handle that.”