I was able to speak tonight with Conley Clarke, the father of Rotnei Clarke, and the Director of Basketball Operations at Oral Roberts University. He spoke about what he has heard from his son today on his visit to UK and the news is more than promising:
Question: Have you talked with your son since he arrived in Lexington? How is he enjoying the visit?
Yeah I guess you could say we have spoken about it. He has called me about 20 times. You can just hear the excitement in his voice every time. He keeps saying, “Dad you arent going to believe this” and “Dad, you arent going to believe that.” It is just really neat to hear him talk like that about a visit.
What has he been doing in Lexington?
There is a camp going on down there and he is just having a great time. Everyone keeps asking him for a picture or for an autograph. HE said he has signed like 50 autographs, which is just blowing his mind. He also said that today the people were chanting, “Come to Kentucky” and he couldnt believe it.
Has he mentioned anything about the school?
He cant get over how nice the facilities are. He has been around to a few schools and he said the practice facility is the best thing he has ever seen. He also likes the campus as well.
We have heard a lot about Wilie Warren and his relationship with Rotnei. Willie said he wanted to play with him. Does Rotnei feel the same way?
You know at first Rotnei wasnt real sure because he didnt know about playing with a lot of different people. But then he went to the NBA camp and he had a lot of guys there who wouldnt pass him the ball or get him involved. But Willie is the one that does and he always takes care of Rotnei and vice versa. So now he thinks it is a lot more important to try and go to the same school if they can.
What is the time frame for Rotnei and making a decision?
Well you know if it wasnt for his mother and dad, the way he sounds it would maybe have already happened this weekend. But we want to talk to him some more and talk with Coach Gillispie about how he sees Rotnei fitting in with the team. Rotnei wants to go to a place where he has a chance to play as a Freshman and we want to see what Coach Gillispie’s plans are. You know originally, we wanted to wait until March and see the teams play. But then we watched what happened with Jai Lucas and all the waiting so we moved it up a bit. Now, I dont know. It could be August or it could be sooner. But it will likely be before the season. We know though you cant wait forever. Rotnei doesnt want to wait too long and then be somewhere else watching Kentucky win championships on television.
Does the DeAndre Liggins commitment have any effect?
No, it doesnt. When we heard about the commitment, I called the coaches just to make sure they still wanted Rotnei and they said yes. We have learned a little about DeAndre’s game and they dont really play at all similarly, so they can play together well. DeAndre is a penetrator and Rotnei likes to shoot and pull up from anywhere inside 40 feet. Rotnei talked to Willie (Warren) too and it doesn’t have an effect on him either. Willie is confident enough, he thinks he can play with anyone in the world (laughs).
What are the other schools at this point?
Well Rotnei has visited Nebraska, Arkansas and Oklahoma. He also would like to see places like Gonzaga and Kansas. I actually just spoke to Coach Self recently. So there are other places. But it is obvious that Rotnei loves Kentucky right now.
We are scheduled to have Rotnei Clarke come on and talk about the UK visit on The Sports Mob at 5:30 on Monday. Be sure and check it out.