Clarke Trims List

Arkansas makes the cut for Oklahoma point guard Rotnei Clarke, who trims his list and then goes out and drops in 20 points Sunday afternoon in AAU action at The Main Event in Las Vegas

LAS VEGAS - Just a little bit after trimming his list from 30 to 10, Rotnei Clarke went out and dropped 20 at Nike's Main Event.

Clarke, the 6-1, 180-pound sharp-shooting point guard from Verdigris, Okla. poured in that 20 points in limited action as his Team Texas roared to a 30-plus point win over the Menifee (Ca.) Wildcats Sunday afternoon in the opening round of AAU pool play.

He did so after trimming a list of 30 offers down to 10 – Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Kentucky, Memphis, Gonzaga, Arizona State, New Mexico, Oral Roberts and Tulsa.

"I knew it was time and I didn't want coaches to have to continue to call me if I was not planning on going to their school," Clarke said. "I just wanted to get it down to 10, take some visits and go from there."

All of that final 10 had coaches in the stands at UNLV's Cox Pavilion Sunday to see Clarke, who averaged 37.6 points per game last season and is on pace to become the state of Oklahoma's leading career scorer.

After finishing up his play at this week's tournament and getting a couple of weeks of rehab on an injured shoulder, Clarke will then begin to take some official and unofficial visits in September to get a decision made by the early signing date in November.

"I want to do it then and get it over with so I can have it done before I get into my senior season and have all that pressure," Clarke said.

Clarke, who sports a 4.0 grade point average and has a regimen of making 500 shots per day, has taken several unofficial visits to Arkansas and one to Kentucky.

His plan is to take official visits to schools that he can't drive to like Gonzaga and Kansas and maybe New Mexico.

"I have not set any of my official visits up yet, but I have an idea where I might take some," Clarke said. "I will take a couple because I need to get out and see what else is out there that I just can't drive to."

Thus he is not likely to take officials to Arkansas and Oklahoma for instance because they are so close to Clarke, who had a career-high 60 points in his final game last season.

"I can go down there (Arkansas and Oklahoma) almost any time I want be it during the summer or even after school starts," Clarke said. Clarke said that if Arkansas hadn't changed coaching staffs, he probably would already be committed to the Razorbacks along with fellow Team Texas player Willie Warren.

"When Coach (Stan) Heath, Coach (Dan) Hipsher and Coach (Orande) Taliaferro were there, they pretty much had me and Willie thinking Arkansas was the place for us to go," Clarke said. "Coach Pelphrey arrived and I didn't have a relationship with him, but he has called me and I have called him a lot and we have built a very good relationship.

"That is why Arkansas is one of my very top schools and will continue to be," Clarke added.

Clarke was just in Fayetteville last week as he and his sister Cassie – a junior who is a standout volleyball player – was attending an Arkansas volleyball camp.

"The best thing about coming over last time (on Thursday) was that I got a chance to meet a couple of their freshmen players in Michael Sanchez and Nate Rakestraw," Clarke said. "I want to be able to like the guys I am playing with and those seem like some really good kids and ones I could see myself playing with."

There are some who thought Kentucky was the leader in the clubhouse after his recent unofficial trek there.

"It was a great experience and I am sure anybody that goes down to Kentucky is going to say wow," Clarke said. "They obviously have great facilities and it is real easy to get caught up in them. A lot of people do.

"But I am going to go with what is in my heart," Clarke said. "God is going to take me where he wants me to be."

There has also been mention of him attending the same school as either Warren.

"Willie and I have talked about the possibility before, but it's not the big factor that a lot of people think it is," Clarke said. "If it happens that's great, if it doesn't that's okay, too."

Arkansas could get a 2-for-1 deal when it comes to the Clarke if Rotnei decides to end up in Fayetteville.

That's at least what Fayetteville resident Sandra Kuntzweiller – the two Clarkes' grandma - is hoping.

"Arkansas has really begun to recruit her in volleyball," Clarke said. "That would be a cool thing if we both ended up there because we already have a lot of family there."

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