Clarke first made his name at Veridigris High School in Claremore, Okla., setting the state scoring record. He chose the University of Arkansas from more than 50 scholarship offers and set a Southeastern Conference record with 13 3-pointers in a single game.
After a coaching change, Clarke transferred to Butler and sat out the 2011-12 season. He helped the Bulldogs return to the NCAA tournament last season by averaging a team-high 16.9 points per game and shooting 40.8 percent from 3-point range.
Butler’s season ended in the second round with an overtime loss against Marquette.
“Obviously it was tough how it ended,” he said. “We definitely thought we could have made a deeper run than what we did. But, you know, I came to Butler to be around good teammates, be around good people and the best coaching staff in the country at the college level.
“One of my goals coming to Butler was to make it to the NCAA tournament (which hadn’t happened at Arkansas), and we did that. We won a game, and, like I said, it’s tough that we didn’t get farther, deeper into it. But it was an awesome experience and don’t regret the decision at all.”
Now Clarke waits to see what the next step will be.
He’s unlikely to be drafted later this month and likely will need to earn a spot on a summer league roster as a ticket into the NBA. From there, he’s hoping to make it into some team’s training camp and prove he deserves a place on the bench during the regular season.
At least one of Clarke’s Butler teammates, former Pendleton Heights star Kellen Dunham, believes he belongs at the next level.
“There are a lot of teams in the NBA with a lot of great players,” Dunham said. “But every team needs a good shooter. There’s always room for an exceptional player like Rot.”