Clarke vs. Page: Match up of the year
By Ray Martin
Oklahoma basketball fans have been longing for this match up for four years now. Pawnee point guard Keiton Page versus Verdigris point guard Rotnei Clarke.
Finally, fans are getting their wish.
Page and Pawnee tip off against Clarke and Verdigris at 2p.m. Friday at the Tournament of Champions in Tulsa.
Both are widely regarded as the states best guards. Page, an OSU signee, has led Pawnee to the state tournament in each of the last three years, and helped the Black Bears claim the title in his freshman season. He is closing in on the Tournament of Champions scoring record set by former Victory Christian point guard Keleena Azubuike.
Clarke, an Arkansas signee, is closing in on his own milestone, the Oklahoma small-school career points record. Clarke has led Verdigris to the 3A semi-finals in each of the last three seasons. He was the state’s leading scorer a year ago (38 points per contest) and won the T o C scoring title (121 points through 3 games).
But the reason fans want to see this match up is rooted in something much deeper than stats. Clarke and Page have a history, and an impressive one at that.
The two played together at Yale in middle school, destroying every seventh grade team that stepped on the court with them. They played AAU ball together in the summers before their 6-8 grade years with the Oklahoma Hoosiers. I remember going to Oral Roberts team camp in the summers and watching a middle school AAU team embarass high school teams. Later, I found out it was Clarke and Page doing all of the embarassing. Luckily, my team never had to play them.
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