Butler's Clarke takes best shot against long odds

Butler's Clarke takes best shot against long odds
June 3, 2013, 2:30 pm
Share This Post

The Wizards hosted six longshots Monday, their first day of individual workouts heading into the June 27 draft, with Rotnei Clarke of Butler having the highest profile.

Tyler Brown (Illinois State), Gregory Echenique (Creighton), Ehimen Orukpe (Wichita State), Miguel Paul (East Carolina) and Angelo Sharpless (Elizabeth City) also participated.

Most of these players, if not all, won’t be drafted. They’ll have to play their way onto an NBA roster as a free agent through the summer league in July and hope to get invites to training camp for the 2013-14 season.

The Wizards have three picks: No. 3 in the first round and Nos. 38 and 54 in the second round. 

The maximum a team can bring in for individual workouts is six per day. Usually, it’s two guards, two wing players and two posts to run pick-and-roll drills.

Clarke, a 6-0 guard who led Butler in scoring at 16.9 points per game and was their best three-point shooter en route to the NCAA tournament, realizes he has an uphill climb. He's a shooter but in an undersized point guard's body. 

“I can be an outside threat,” said Clarke, who compared himself to a four inches shorter version of J.J. Redick, a sharpshooter from long range and now a free agent. “I learned a lot of things from him in college, watching his footwork, a quick release.”

Clarke doesn't have a lot of workouts planned but did say he'll have visits with the Indiana Pacers and Atlanta Hawks.

Clarke was hotly recruited out of high school in Oklahoma. He initially chose to play at Arkansas, bypassing offers from Kentucky and Kansas. If he'd gone to Kentucky, he'd have been a teammate of Wizards point guard John Wall.

"Unfortunately I played against him at Arkansas," said Clarke, who transferred to Butler for his senior season.  "He's shooting the ball better now. He's a complete point guard. It would be an honor to be a part of this organization and have a chance to play with him."