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The Odd Couple

photos by Wesley Hitt

Going back through the 30-odd year history of Razorback basketball's modern era, the Hogs have always been known for tenacious guard play. Sure, we've had some superstar post players (paging Big Nasty), but our great teams have been defined by guards who played ferocious defense and could shoot the hell out of the ball.

The Triplets. Walker. Robertson. Wilson. Mayberry. Bowers. Shepherd. Beck. McDaniel. Dillard. Reid. Bradley. Brewer. Weems. I know I'm forgetting others, but this off-the-cuff list is already long and impressive.

So, that's probably why I'm so happy that we have Courtney Fortson and Rotnei Clarke in the backcourt for us this year. They seem to be cut from the same cloth as the names listed above, and have the potential to write exciting new chapters in the Razorback history books.

But, I have to admit that, in addition to their obvious skills on the court, I'm a little fascinated by the apparent *odd couple* nature of this duo. In this brave new world of the Obama era, the combination of the dreadlocked black floor general and the countrified white marksman just feels right. And it's not just that they play next to each other, either...they already seem to have genuine chemistry going. Check out these quotes from a recent Hawgs Illustrated article:

Clarke on Fortson:

"Courtney is just as unbelievable as I thought he’d be. The first time I met him this summer was for pickup games and I went right to him to introduce myself. I told him, ‘I’m on your team.’ He puts me in more open situations than I’ve ever seen in my life. Wide-open spots. He is not a typical point guard. Unbelievable."

Fortson on Clarke:

"Crazy is what I’d call [their first meeting]. I’d heard of him and knew he was good. But it was crazy. I was driving and kicking and he made every shot. Every one. He’s so consistent with his shot. I’m telling you, he hasn’t even moved out yet. No one has forced him from the (3-point) line. He can shoot it deep, real deep."

And assistant coach Rob Evans on both:

"A point guard needs a shooter. A shooter needs a point guard. They knew they would be so much better together and that was a part of their decision when they were picking a college...They get along and play so well together. They understand spacing. Rotnei understands that when Fortson starts to make his move, he needs to get away from him so that Courtney can find him. They get it."

Quotes like those make me practically giddy. If I ran a network, I would immediately launch a reality show based on their time at Arkansas. Imagine the possibilities: Courtney and Rotnei chilling in the dorm room talking about life. Courtney and Rotnei meeting each other's families. Courtney and Rotnei hanging out with each other's high school friends. Courtney and Rotnei going on a double date. Courtney and Rotnei playing practical jokes on their teammates. Courtney and Rotnei making big plays to win games (ok, that one already happened).

That's a can't-fail idea, right? I've resigned myself to the likelihood that no one will be visionary enough to make that happen, but if nothing else we can all enjoy following their exploits on the court. Good times ahead.