Hoops Recruiting: Clarke Talks OSU Visit

Rotnei Clarke was one of seven recruits visiting Oklahoma State this weekend, and probably the number one priority of the Cowboy coach staff. The 6-foot, 180-pound guard made an official visit to Oklahoma State after making trips to his other two finalist – Oral Roberts and Arkansas – in recent weeks. We caught up with the Verdigris (Okla.) High School senior early Sunday evening.

GoPokes.com: How was your visit to Oklahoma State?
Clarke: It was a very good experience. I had a lot of fun.

GoPokes.com: Was there anything that surprised you or you learned about OSU basketball that shocked you?
Clarke: Not really. I'm always known about OSU's great basketball tradition. I thought there would be a ton of people at the basketball bash (Friday night), and there was. Nothing really caught me off guard.

GoPokes.com: What was your schedule like during the visit?
Clarke: When we got there Friday we went out to eat, and then after that we went and watched practice. We went to the (homecoming) walk around and then went to the bash. After the bash, around 1 a.m. or so, I stayed to shoot with Keiton (Page, his friend who has verbally committed to OSU and plans to sign with the Cowboys next month). After that we went back to the hotel. Saturday, I went to practice and watched the football game and then hung out with the team. We got up Sunday morning and went fishing before we had to leave.

GoPokes.com: Who went fishing?
Clarke: Me, Keiton, Coach (James) Dickey, Coach (Mike) Hatch, and then Coach (Sean) Sutton showed up.

GoPokes.com: How was the fishing? Did you catch anything?
Clarke: It was great. We each caught a lot of bass and crappie, and a couple of perch.

GoPokes.com: Was it a competition or a relaxing time with a friend and the coach staff?
Clarke: We were just trying to have a good time, and we did. Keiton and I have fished together since we were little, probably since the seventh grade.

GoPokes.com: Did you arrive in Stillwater with an agenda – trying to get some questions answered, seeing how close the team was away from basketball, etc?
Clarke: I got a lot of my questions answered that I didn't know about yet. I will say it was a great visit, a great experience.

GoPokes.com: What were some of those questions that you got answered?
Clarke: Just stuff like, how am I going to fit in? I didn't know all the coaching staff real well, and wanted to get to know some of them a little bit better. I got a lot of questions like that answered.

GoPokes.com: You've now taken visits to your three final schools – OSU, Arkansas and Oral Roberts – so what's your timetable now?
Clarke: I think I'm done with my visits. I'm going to try to make a decision as soon as possible. I feel like God has a plan for me and I'm going to pray about it. I'm not going to rush into anything. I'm just planning to take my time and make the decision when I feel the time is right.

GoPokes.com: You've said that you want to have a decision by the first day of the early signing period, which is Nov. 14. Is that still your target date?
Clarke: I hope to have a decision by Nov. 14, hopefully. But it could take longer than that. I do want to get it done before the basketball season starts so I can concentrate on my senior year.

GoPokes.com: Where do you think you would fit in at Oklahoma State?
Clarke: I think I could play either guard spot (the point or two guard). Coach (Sean) Sutton said, and they've done it in the past when Coach Eddie Sutton was the head coach, that they've played three guards, and they've actually played two point guards at one time. I think that's a great fit for me. I could see Keiton and me on the court at the same time. It's a good system and a good fit for me.

GoPokes.com: What are the positives about Oklahoma State?
Clarke: The system fits me. I trust the coaching staff, so I think I'll be in a good situation. I like the teammates at all three schools that I visited, Oklahoma State, Oral Roberts and Arkansas. It's a great atmosphere. Oklahoma State has an unbelievable atmosphere inside Gallagher-Iba Arena. There really aren't many negatives to it.

GoPokes.com: Sean Sutton is the head coach at OSU, his brother Scott is the head coach at Oral Roberts, and John Pelphrey, one of Sean's best friends, is the head coach at Arkansas. Has anyone of them talked about the other head coach to you?
Clarke: There hasn't been a lot of talk about it. When I was at Arkansas, Coach Pelphrey told me that he and Sean Sutton were roommates in college and still great friends. Coach Sutton did the same. I think they both just wanted me to know about it, but there really hasn't been a lot of talk about it.

GoPokes.com: How excited are you about beginning your senior season?
Clarke: I'm really looking forward to it.

GoPokes.com: You have scored 2,534 points the past three seasons, and need just 1,086 more to break the state high school scoring record. How important is breaking that record?
Clarke: It's not very important to me at all. My one goal has always been to win a state championship for my uncle (his head coach at Verdigris, Kelly Clarke), and the team. The scoring record will be a cool accomplishment if it happens but the number one goal for me is being a state champion.

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