Rotnei Clarke isn’t kidding. I think.

Dear Rotnei,

Are you kidding me? Are you pulling a big ol’ prank on the University of Arkansas? Are you joking around with Coach Mike Anderson? Are you having a laugh at all of your adoring fans?

This has got to be a joke, right?

If so, please stop. Because this schtick of yours is getting old. What is this now, the third time that you’ve asked to be released from the Arkansas program? Three times? And it appears you’re trying to make this third time the charm, seeing that you went and talked to

What was it that you said about the new system in place?

“I have spent the last couple of months getting to know Coach Anderson, his staff and his system,” Clarke said. “And I still feel as though it’s best for me to finish my career somewhere else.”

You want to finish your career somewhere else? You want to leave for your senior year? You don’t want to even give this new system a chance?

I’m sorry Rot, but this is at least 90% silly. I know that your coach is gone. I know that some of your teammates are gone. I know that change isn’t the easiest thing to accept sometimes.

But leaving Arkansas now, on the eve of your senior year, isn’t the best idea. Leaving Arkansas now, when Coach Anderson is installing a system that WILL get you open shots, isn’t the best idea. Leaving Arkansas now, when you’ve accepted every challenge thrown at you over the past three seasons and endured, isn’t the best idea.

I watched your games and wished that someone on that coaching staff would look at game tape from Reggie Miller’s games. Miller was a great shooter, like yourself, and he got open looks in the NBA.

Coach Pelphrey could not get you open. You were the focal point of opposing defenses. You had to fight for every shot, even when they weren’t falling. Every night looked like a fight.

The new system will be tough. Coach Anderson might be meaner than Coach Pelphrey. The new players might be more athletic. But here’s the thing. Coach Anderson will get you open. The system will get you open. Your teammates and the new incoming Freshmen will get you open.

All you have to do is hit shots.

It works. Take a look at some names from when Coach Richardson (and a similar system) was here:

  1. Pat Bradley
  2. Scotty Thurman
  3. Lee Mayberry
  4. Jannero Pargo
  5. Alex Dillard

They all did fairly well from the 3-point line, don’t you think? Would, did, any of them excel in a system where they struggled nightly JUST to get open? Not a chance.

And here’s the scarier thing. You’re a better shooter than all of them. Especially when you’re not going to be hounded all game long.

Rot, if you really want to leave, we’ll man-up, shake your hand and wish you the best. We love you and you’re a fantastic Hog.

But we fans don’t think this is the solution. There’s so much more to gain. Finish what you started here, win some games and set some records along the way.

Change is easy to fear. It’s what you do with that fear that will define who you will be.

Yours truly,
Seth Gunderson