What Does Rotnei Clarke Have To Do With the Wizards, Wale and the Redskins?
So what does Rotnei Clarke have to do with the Wizards, Wale and the Redskins?
Well, for one, the sharp-shooting Clarke worked out for the Washington Wizards on Monday, along with five other players—Tyler Brown, Miguel Paul, Angelo Sharpless, Gregory Echenique, and Ehimen Orukpe. It was the first pre-NBA Draft workout the Wizards conducted this year at the Verizon Center.
Clarke, a 6-foot guard from Butler, said the workout “went really well,” his humble demeanor being sure to mention that he appreciated the opportunity. He doesn’t have any other workouts scheduled at the moment, but indicated that the Indiana Pacers and Atlanta Hawks were interested in taking a look. ESPN.com’s Chad Ford (Insider) ranks Clarke, who will turn 24 in July, 98 on his list of Top 100 2013 NBA Draft prospects.
Clarke knows his bread-and-butter: shooting the ball and shooting it quickly. In three years at Arkansas and one at Butler, he finished with 389 career 3-pointers made, which is good enough to tie for 15th-most in NCAA history. And of the top 16, only one player surpassed Clarke’s career 41.6 percent from the deep, Tennessee’s Chris Lofton (431 career makes, 42.2 percent).
“Obviously I’m known as an outside shooter, I think I can be an outside threat,” Clarke told the media after working out in Washington. “But at the same time, I have to be able to—if I’m going to play at this level—make plays for the other guys, too. Because with my height, I’m kind of forced to be a true point guard. And that’s something I’ve tried to improve on.”
Clarke calls J.J. Redick his favorite NBA player, but recognizes the obvious difference… size. Redick, listed at 6-foot-4, is four inches taller than Clarke.
“I learned a lot of things from him, watching him in college with his footwork, his quick release,” Clarke said about Redick. “I do a lot of things to get my ball off that quick, whether it be at the top of my head because I’m a little bit shorter, so it gives me an advantage to get it up quicker … you know, 1-2, stepping into my shots. Footwork is really the key to everything for me.”
Clarke says he’s also studied the games of other smaller players such as J.J. Barea and that his own quickness is overlooked a lot.
What about Wale?
On April 19, Rotnei tweeted out the below photo of him and Wale with the caption: “No big deal, jus me and Wale!!”
So what was that about? Clarke:
“I was actually going home. I was in the airport in Indianapolis.
“He… I didn’t give him any crap about it… He had an IU (Indiana University) thing on. Me being from Butler—Butler’s not really fans of IU—but he had a lot of IU stuff on.
He had just come from a concert that he did at Indiana. So I went up to him—he was telling a lot of people he wasn’t Wale, and I knew who he was. So I said I needed a picture, I’ve got to prove to my teammates that you’re in the airport because they don’t believe me.”
And the Redskins?
Clarke is also 1/16 Cherokee, which certainly qualifies him to weigh in on the Washington “Redskins” debate. Actually, do you even have to “qualify” to weigh in on this? Pretty much everyone has, anyway. I keep waiting for Randy Wittman’s mom (who pestered her son for John Wall injury updates last December) to give her opinion.
Nonetheless, here’s Rotnei:
“I’ve heard about it a lot. I learned a lot, actually. I had a class about it at Arkansas that was talking about different logos and mascots that were offensive to Indians, and the tribes, and things like that.
“Now, I really don’t take it as offensive much because I’m not fully [Native American] … I mean, I’m just a little bit. But I can see how maybe some people could take that as offensive, but it really doesn’t affect me too much. I think it’s just a mascot, it’s a logo … they’re not trying to offend anybody.”