NCAA BK

Little-known Clarke could be big hit for Arkansas

Share This Story

Jeff Goodman

Jeff Goodman is a senior college basketball writer for FOXSports.com. Check out his Yardbarker blog. MORE>>
 
   
 
It didn't take long for the former or the current Arkansas coaches to be sold on Rotnei Clarke. Shortly after ex-Razorbacks coach Stan Heath watched Clarke put on a shooting exhibition in which he made 25 straight shots from beyond the arc and 94 of 100 overall from long range, the scholarship offer was on the table.

Top 50 shooters

Rotnei Clarke Rotnei Clarke is among the top perimeter threats in 2009-10, but who are the rest? Jeff Goodman ranks the top 50 shooters in the country.
Then when John Pelphrey took over in Fayetteville, his first glimpse of Clarke was more than enough. "I just got the job and hadn't ever seen him play," recalled Pelphrey. "I had heard he could really shoot it, but I don't get all that carried away when people tell me that. But he ripped off a run where he hit eight, nine, 10 in a row — literally right after he walked onto the floor." Pelphrey walked right over to Clarke's uncle, Kelly, who was also his high school coach at Verdigris High (Okla.). "I'll take him right now," Pelphrey said. Now that Stephen Curry and Jimmy Baron (FOXSports.com's top two long distance shooters prior to last season) have left the college ranks, Clarke ranks as numero uno on FOXSports.com's list of the top 50 shooters in the country. "There's nobody better," Pelphrey said. "No one." I remember the first time I saw Clarke, it was back prior to his junior season. Talented guard Willie Warren, now a sophomore at Oklahoma, told me that his summer team, Team Texas, had picked up the best shooter in the nation. Then he pointed to Clarke. I laughed. Clarke didn't look like the type of kid who'd scare opposing defenses with his ability to stretch a defense nearly to halfcourt. Sure, he had put up insane scoring numbers in a small town in Oklahoma, but he was a chubby little kid who hardly looked the part. Then I saw him shoot the ball. His range is ridiculous. His form is nearly flawless, and he just flat-out makes shot after shot from all over the court. The 6-foot, 175-pound Clarke wasted no time last season, making 39.3 percent of his shots from beyond the arc at Arkansas, which led all freshmen. He had four or more 3-pointers in eight of the last 10 games and also shot 93.5 percent from the charity stripe in his first year in college. For Clarke, as well as most of the other shooters on the list of top 50 shooters in America, repetition leads to success. Clarke started a routine back in high school where he made 500 shots from beyond the arc each and every day. Some days he'd go in before school at 6 a.m., but most of the time he'd be in the gym late at night. Clarke would mix it up — off the dribble, in transition and step-backs. Shot after shot.

2009-10 preview

Roy Halladay Can't wait for the college hoops season to start? We get you ready for 2009-10 with our preseason guide.
But Clarke also admits he's always had a knack for putting the ball in the basket. "I think it comes naturally," he said. "God has blessed me with the talent. As far as I can remember, I've been able to shoot the ball." There was the time in high school when he literally stepped a couple feet over halfcourt and buried a trifecta. "I didn't realize how far I was when I shot it," he laughed. Pelphrey played with Ricky Farmer and Travis Ford at Kentucky and coached guys like Mike Miller, Teddy Dupay, Brett Nelson and Matt Bonner at Florida, who were all big-time shooters. But Rotnei could do even more at Arkansas. "Rotnei has a chance to be better than all of them," Pelphrey said.
Tagged: Arkansas, Kentucky, Davidson, Coppin State, Rhode Island, Oklahoma

More Stories From Jeff Goodman



NCAA BK Videos

Georgetown, Syracuse to renew CBK rivalry Posted: Jun 10, 2014
Georgetown basketball coach John Thompson III on the renewal of the rivalry betw...

Cuonzo Martin new head coach at Cal Posted: Apr 16, 2014
Cuonzo Martin is introduced as Cal's new head coach.

UConn tops Notre Dame in women's final Posted: Apr 09, 2014
Hear from Geno Auriemma and his players after their National Championship victor...

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    Nike Florida Gators #1 Replica Elite Basketball Jersey - Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Florida_Gators/browse/featuredproduct/885881/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_885000/ff_885881_xl.jpg&w=100 74.95 Nike Florida Gators #1 Replica Elite Basketball Jersey - Black
    Nike Georgetown Hoyas #22 Hyper Elite Road Performance Jersey - Navy Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Georgetown_Hoyas/browse/featuredproduct/1030243/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1030000/ff_1030243_xl.jpg&w=100 119.95 Nike Georgetown Hoyas #22 Hyper Elite Road Performance Jersey - Navy Blue
    Nike Duke Blue Devils #5 Tourney Takeover Replica T-Shirt - Duke Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Duke_Blue_Devils/browse/featuredproduct/1032710/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1032000/ff_1032710_xl.jpg&w=100 27.95 Nike Duke Blue Devils #5 Tourney Takeover Replica T-Shirt - Duke Blue
    Nike Oregon Ducks X-Ray Ball T-Shirt - Green http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Oregon_Ducks/browse/featuredproduct/1052002/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1052000/ff_1052002_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Oregon Ducks X-Ray Ball T-Shirt - Green
    Nike Ohio State Buckeyes Road Warrior Tri-blend T-Shirt - Scarlet http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Ohio_State_Buckeyes/browse/featuredproduct/1052645/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1052000/ff_1052645_xl.jpg&w=100 29.95 Nike Ohio State Buckeyes Road Warrior Tri-blend T-Shirt - Scarlet
    Indiana Hoosiers 2013 NCAA Men\'s Basketball Road to March Madness T-Shirt - Crimson http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Indiana_Hoosiers/browse/featuredproduct/1124528/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1124000/ff_1124528_xl.jpg&w=100 19.95 Indiana Hoosiers 2013 NCAA Men\'s Basketball Road to March Madness T-Shirt - Cri..
    adidas Louisville Cardinals 2013 March Madness #10 Premier Swingman Jersey - Red http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Louisville_Cardinals/browse/featuredproduct/1127200/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1127000/ff_1127200_xl.jpg&w=100 89.95 adidas Louisville Cardinals 2013 March Madness #10 Premier Swingman Jersey - Red
    adidas Notre Dame Fighting Irish 2013 March Madness #45 Premier Swingman Jersey - White http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Notre_Dame_Fighting_Irish/browse/featuredproduct/1127218/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1127000/ff_1127218_xl.jpg&w=100 89.95 adidas Notre Dame Fighting Irish 2013 March Madness #45 Premier Swingman Jersey ..
    Nike Gonzaga Bulldogs March Madness Bracketville T-Shirt - Navy Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Gonzaga_Bulldogs/browse/featuredproduct/1155821/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1155000/ff_1155821_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Gonzaga Bulldogs March Madness Bracketville T-Shirt - Navy Blue
    Top of the World Miami Hurricanes 2013 NCAA ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament Champions Adjustable Hat – Green http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Miami_Hurricanes/browse/featuredproduct/1177723/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1177000/ff_1177723_xl.jpg&w=100 25.95 Top of the World Miami Hurricanes 2013 NCAA ACC Men’s Basketball Tournament Cham..