With the three-point line moving back a foot for the 2008-2009 season, a sharp shooter with range like Rotnei Clarke only becomes a more valued prospect. Plenty of offers have been extended to the 6-foot, 175-pound combo guard from Claremore (Okla.) Verdigris High School, including a very recent one from a SEC power.
"Kentucky offered me just the other day," said Clarke. "Coach Gillispie described me as a Gerry MacNamera, but better. He said a lot of colleges could get me to the NBA, but he knows he can get me there without a doubt because of how he works his players and the type of work ethic that I have."
This is a work ethic that produces a minimum of 500 shots a day and often times 500 makes a day.
Known as a phenomenal shooter from behind the arc since hitting the national scene, Clarke is now consistently scoring with a floater off the dribble and working his way to the free throw line with physical dribble drives.
"I've really been working on putting the ball on the floor," he said. "Developing the floater has really helped me. When I'm working out, I'm taking all kinds of shots from three-pointers on the move to dribble pull ups going both directions."
Kentucky joins a long list of schools pursuing Clarke, who is the No. 79 ranked prospect in the Rivals150. Presently he has offers from the likes of Arizona State, Arkansas, Kansas, Marquette, Oklahoma, Washington State, Gonzaga, Missouri State and Oral Roberts amongst others.
"I'm going to narrow my list way down by the end of July," Clarke said. "I want to see who is really serious about me during the July evaluation period."
Once Clarke does narrow his list, he will look closely at the style of play of the schools in the mix.
"I want to play somewhere that fits my style," he said. "I excel at coming off ball screens and screens off the ball, so I need a system where I'll be able to use lots of screens.
"I also want to play for coaches who I like both as a player and a friend. It's important to now that they will be there when I need them most. And I have to play with teammates that I like."
Rotnei Clarke scouting report:
Clarke is nothing short of being a phenomenal shooter. He has extremely deep range and can hit the long ball on the move. A very cerebral player, he knows how to use screens and on defense he makes up for his shortcomings athletically. More than just a shooter, Clarke handles the ball well and can score off floaters when driving to his right.