"Rotnei is getting a little tired of the recruiting process," the elder Clarke said, "and he wants to make a good decision and get it behind him. Our mailbox is just full and the phone is always ringing off the hook. We are getting emails and text messages. Our family has seen the mess around what happened with Jai Lucas when the process gets drawn out and we don't want to go down that road."
"I'd really like to make that decision," Rotnei said himself, "I think, if I can get all the visits in I need to make, I should be able to do that by the end of August."
Even so, from outward appearances Rotnei's recruitment seems to be getting more complex. Scout.com lists Rotnei with Arizona State, Marquette, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Georgia Tech, Kansas, Kentucky, Memphis, Tulsa, Iowa State, Missouri State and Oklahoma State.
While that might appear as though Rotnei was trimming down his list, Conley quickly points out that a few other schools have gotten involved and one in particular, had gotten Rotnei's attention, "We have been speaking to Mark Few of Gonzaga," Conley said, "Mark is a class act and I have really enjoyed talking to him. One of the things that Rotnei has really been excited about is working out with John Stockton. At Rotnei's position, I can't think of anyone in a better position to help him get to the next level than Stockton. We will definitely be organizing a visit to Gonzaga after the Main Event tournament in Las Vegas."
Conley's wife also politely reminded him that New Mexico has been getting involved, or trying to.
"Oral Roberts has asked for consideration," Conley said, "and I just recently went to work for them, but that will have nothing to do with his decision. If he decides to go to Kentucky, we will move to Lexington. We plan to move wherever he goes."
So Kentucky remains a strong consideration?
"Yes, certainly," said Conley. "We haven't trimmed the list just yet. Before deciding to end the recruiting process in August, we were making plans to attend Midnight Madness either in Kansas or Kentucky. Some of my family has been at the Kansas Midnight Madness for the past three years. It's something we enjoy. We were thinking this year, we might mix it up and go to Lexington. Obviously, that decision now is going to be made for us by wherever he chooses to go."
What is going to drive the decision?
"Several factors, I think," Conley said, "he certainly is thinking about playing time. I really think that is high on his priorities. He plans to go into Sports Broadcasting, so he is looking at where he can best meet his goals there as well."
Much has been made of the friendship between Clarke and his friendship with Ft. Worth, Tx. sensation Willie Warren. Although Rotnei, at times, has downplayed that relationship when it comes to making a decision, Conley thinks there could be something to the talk of a "package deal."
Rotnei himself added, "I do think it would be a really cool thing. We have Kentucky, Kansas and Oklahoma on our lists in common, so if it happens that would be great. If for some reason it didn't happen, that would be ok."
"They have certainly talked about it," Conley said, "and very recently. I know they would like to play together. It doesn't mean it will end up that way, but I think it would make them both happy if they ended up together, so I certainly would not rule it out."
For now, Rotnei is going to concentrate on his remaining tournaments, then schedule some official visits. "I am sure we will go see Arizona State," Rotnei said, "The staff there have been involved and nice to us from day one. I really think we need to go there. I have been to Kansas three times unofficially. I may take an official there. I don't know yet. Certainly, I will go see Gonzaga. Coach Mark Few has expressed a strong interest in me and he offered me a scholarship just recently."
Rotnei expressed an interest in attending Kentucky's Midnight Madness. He said that coach Billy Gillispie has been as aggressive or more so than just about any other coach, and he made one more observation that should be interesting to Kentucky fans, "Something that was pretty unique about Kentucky was the awareness of the fans," he said, "I am not sure I experienced anything quite like that before. The fans there all seemed to know who I was and what was going on. That was pretty cool, really."
So while the Clarkes talked about all manner of schools, Kentucky, Kansas and Gonzaga were the three schools getting the most sound bites on this Tuesday night.