August 3, 2011

Butler Basketball Adds Arkansas Transfer

INDIANAPOLIS, IND. -- Former University of Arkansas scoring leader Rotnei Clarke is transferring to Butler for his final season of eligibility.  Clarke, the all-time leading scorer in Oklahoma high school basketball history, will sit out the 2011-12 campaign before playing with the Bulldogs in 2012-13.

“We’re thrilled that Rotnei has chosen to finish his collegiate career at Butler,” said Bulldogs’ head coach Brad Stevens.  “He’s obviously a skilled basketball player who has achieved at a high level, but I was most impressed with him as a person.  He’s really committed to improving himself, and he has a tremendous work ethic.  He brings great intangibles to our basketball team, as well as the ability to make our team better when he’s eligible in 2012-13.”

“When you add a person who has grown up in a gym, has a great passion for the game and is a great teammate, you’re adding someone special,”  continued Stevens.  “One of the things that struck me on his visit was the way all of our players came up to me and said what a great guy Rotnei was and how they really hoped he would come to Butler.  That speaks to who we want to be and how excited we all are to welcome him to the team.”

Clarke led Arkansas in scoring as a junior last season with a 15.2 average.  But a coaching change at Arkansas after the 2010-11 season, prompted the second-team All-Southeastern Conference performer to seek a release to transfer for his final collegiate season.

The 6-0 guard was ranked as the No. 2 shooter in the nation by Athlon magazine and as the best shooter in the SEC by Sporting News prior to the 2010-11 season.  He lived up to those lofty expectations by shooting 44% (91-208) from the three-point arc on the year.  He wound up third in the SEC in three-point field goals per game (2.9) and in three-point field goal percentage and 11th in scoring.  

As a sophomore, he was tabbed the preseason No. 1 shooter in the nation by FoxSports.com and was picked as the country’s No. 1 shooter by ESPN’s Andy Katz.   He finished the season ranked ninth in the NCAA Division I in both three-point field goals per game (3.2) and three-point percentage (42.7), and  he became just the second player in Arkansas history and the 15th in SEC history to hit 100 three-point field goals in a season!  Clarke recorded a school and conference record 13 (of 17) three-pointers while scoring 51 points in a victory over Alcorn State.

In three seasons at Arkansas, the sharp-shooting backcourt player connected on 274 shots from beyond the three-point arc.

Clarke was a first team All-State player at Verdigris High School in Verdigris, Oklahoma.  He led his high school team to its first Class 3A state championship, and he finished his high school career with a state record 3,758 points.  He scored 40 or more points in a game 34 times and twice topped 60 points in a contest!