Hinkle Fieldhouse appears void of activity to the outside observer after dark. But for Rotnei Clarke, nights in Hinkle hardly lack action.
On any given night, one can find the senior guard shooting and working on his game in a nearly deserted Hinkle Fieldhouse. Apart from an occasional security guard or maintenance worker, Clarke normally practices without an audience.
Every night possible, Clarke is at Hinkle shooting until he makes between 350 and 400 shots. Clarke said those shots range from 3-pointers and free throws to all types of possible in-game shots.
Vicki Devine, lead general services assistant at Hinkle, said Clarke almost always makes an appearance whenever she is working late.
This work ethic didn’t come overnight for Clarke.
“I’ve done these workouts ever since I can remember,” Clarke said. “Going back to third or fourth grade, I would work with my dad on ball handling and shooting drills.”
Clarke also said his faith keeps him motivated to go in each night and put in the work necessary to succeed.
“I know that God has blessed me with a gift that I don’t want to go to waste,” Clarke said. “It’s a blessing to be alive, and I’m really playing for him.”
Clarke said the neck injury he sustained against Dayton earlier this season broke his routine for a week or two, but it hasn’t really stopped him.
If anything, he said it reinforced his desire to get the most out of his abilities while he is able to do so.
Clarke has had a remarkable season for Butler, averaging more than 16 points per game and shooting nearly 43 percent on 3’s and 88 percent from the free-throw line.
Amid his collegiate success, Clarke said any thoughts of playing professionally could wait.
“I’m really just focused on this season right now,” Clarke said. “I’m trying to finish strong with the guys and coaching staff I’m with. I’ll worry about what comes next after the season is over with.”
With the calendar turned to March and the NCAA Tournament rapidly approaching, Clarke believes strongly in the team’s chances to make a run this postseason.
“I think we can make a deep run, (and) we’ve shown throughout the season we can play with anyone,” Clarke said. “It depends on how we play each night, but anything can happen.”