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Q&A with a Razorback: Rotnei Clarke

BY ANDRES FOCIL
Q&A with a Razorback: Rotnei Clarke

By Sydney StoltzArkansas Media RelationsOne of five returning starters on the Razorback men’s basketball team, Rotnei Clarke has always been known for his shooting prowess. He was named the No. 1 shooter in the nation by Foxsports.com, earlier this fall and one of the top players that fans should know about by the same publication. As a true freshman, Clarke shot 39.3 percent from three-point range.Arkansas’ sharpshooter was exceptional in the Razorbacks’ season opener on Nov. 13, when he scored a school record 51 points against Alcorn St. in a 130-68 blowout win by the Hogs. Clarke also set a school and Southeastern Confernece record by hitting 13 three-point baskets in the contest.MR: Do you like to play any other sports than basketball?RC: I love every other sport but my two favorites other than basketball are football and baseball. I played baseball all the way up until high school then I focused on basketball.MR: How long have you been playing basketball and what got you involved?RC: I have been playing ever since I was a little kid. My family is very basketball oriented. My dad played basketball in a small college in Missouri. Everyone else in my family is either a coach or has something to do with basketball.MR: Coming out of high school you had over 30 offers including Oklahoma State, Kentucky, Kansas and Memphis. What made you choose Arkansas?RC: I felt like when I came to visit here that this was the place God wanted me to be. He put me here for a reason and everything felt right. I love this place.MR: You were named the top freshman three-point shooter in the nation last year. How do you approach your sophomore year with that honor?RC: That’s a tough thing to live up to and I’m just going to have to prove it. I need to show everyone that I am that and prove myself. It’s an honor to be named that.MR: What do you like most about playing basketball at the University of Arkansas?RC: The fan support is crazy. I went to a small high school and there were a lot of people that went to those games but nothing like here. It is an unbelievable atmosphere.MR: What is it like having your sister, Cassie, play volleyball for the Razorbacks? RC: It’s awesome because I can go watch her play after practice. It’s fun to have a family member to go watch and support and she does the same for me.MR: What effect has it had on you now that your parents have moved from Oklahoma to live in Northwest Arkansas?RC: It has made a huge impact. It wasn’t until six or seven months after I had been here that they moved to Fayetteville with my sister. It’s nice to have them here especially if I need to get some rest before a game and sleep in my own bed. It’s also great to get a home cooked meal every now and then or just have the guys over to hang out. It’s nice having my parents support me at all of my games.MR: Is there anything special you do before a game?RC: I mediate on Bible scriptures and focus on that. I also like to listen to Christian rap music to get me pumped up before the game.MR: Do you have any goals for this year?RC: Our main goal is to win a lot more games than last year. We want to win the SEC Championship and then hopefully make it to the NCAA Tournament. My personal goal is to contribute and put our team in situations to win games.MR: Is there anything about being a collegiate athlete that no one knows?RC: It is an actual job. A lot of people think that we have it easy with school but it’s tough with waking up early. It’s like a full time job. I know that people know we work hard but I just don’t think they realize how much time we put into it. It helps having our academic study halls to wind us down after practice or before workouts and focus on studying.MR: What are some of the main differences between playing basketball in college and in high school?RC: It’s tough especially coming from a small 3A school in Oklahoma. We didn’t have a lot of competition until at least the playoffs. Here we are always competing with someone that is just as good as or better than us. Also I’m not a huge figure compared to the players in this conference so I have to get my shot off quick or it will end up in the stands. It has been a big adjustment for me.MR: Do you have any role models that have helped you through your career?RC: My parents have always been my big role models. They have been good to me and made me who I am today.



Sports Category : Basketball (M)