FAYETTEVILLE — Arkansas forward Coty Clarke doesn’t think the teams for the Red-White Game are evenly divided.
But it’s not going to stop the senior — who is part of an eight-man squad of players from outside the state of Arkansas — from trying to lead his team to a win during the program’s annual intrasquad scrimmage today.
“We’re going to take it because that’s what we do,” Clarke said during Arkansas’ media day last Thursday. “I’m used to adversity. We’re just going to go out there and show what the out-of-state players can do.”
Clarke and the rest of the Razorbacks will put their preseason progress on display when they hold the Red-White scrimmage in Bud Walton Arena at 3:30 p.m.
Coach Mike Anderson and the basketball program came up with a unique way to divide his team for the scrimmage this season, pitting Arkansas’ out-of-state players (White) against the group of homegrown talent (Red).
It stirred plenty of debate when the teams were announced Thursday. But Fayetteville native Kikko Haydar — after joking that the Arkansas kids have a definite advantage — said there should be plenty of competition.
“The rosters are definitely evenly matched,” Haydar said. “It’s going to be a good game. We go at each other every day in practice. …. We’re going to go out and play hard and give the fans something to cheer about.”
Haydar will join Fred Gulley, Ky Madden, Manuale Watkins, Bobby Portis, Alandise Harris and Moses Kingsley on the Red team. Kingsley is from Nigeria and played high school basketball at Huntington Prep in West Virginia, but was teammates with Portis and Watkins on the Arkansas Wings AAU team.
“Moses is an Arkansan,” Haydar said. “Moses played for the Wings.”
Clarke will lead a team that also includes Mardracus Wade, Rickey Scott, Anthlon Bell, Jacorey Williams, Michael Qualls, Dee Wagner and West Virginia transfer Keaton Miles, who is sitting out the season because of NCAA transfer rules.
The scrimmage is free for the public, although fans are encouraged to bring two non-perishable food items to donate to local food pantries. The Arkansas women’s basketball team will be introduced at halftime, while players and coaches will be available to sign autographs on the concourse shortly after the scrimmage.
Anderson hinted that the rosters may not stay the same throughout the game, indicating there could be changes at halftime. But he said the only thing that matters is how well players compete no matter what team they’re on today.
“We’ve got some guys that will compete,” Anderson said. “No matter how I put the teams in practice, it seems like there’s competition taking place. …
“It’ll be interesting to see how they come out and really play in front of people.”