Butler’s Rotnei Clarke: ‘I feel very blessed’
by David Woods, USA TODAY Sports
INDIANAPOLIS — Butler coach Brad Stevens has called on rules-makers to look at moving basket supports to enhance player safety.
Butler guard Rotnei Clarke was fouled from behind Saturday at Dayton and plunged head-first into the padded support. He emerged with a sprained neck after a scary eight minutes on the floor and an emergency trip to a nearby hospital.
“I feel very blessed that day that I was even able to walk out of that hospital,” Clarke said Tuesday night. “It puts a lot of things in perspective when something like that happens.
“It shows you that your health, and the people around you, are more important than the actual game.”
Clarke, the 13th-ranked Bulldogs’ top scorer, has already been ruled out of the next two games, both at home: Wednesday against Richmond and Saturday against No. 8 Gonzaga.
Clarke said he has sore shoulders and a stiff neck but no other effects from what could have been a catastrophic spinal injury. He plans to begin riding a stationary bicycle Wednesday or Thursday as he awaits clearance for regular activity.
Stevens said it was “a hard foul” when Dayton’s Matt Derenbecker crashed into Clarke, who was dribbling in for a layup after stealing the ball. Such fouls can happen a couple of times a game, the coach said.
“But I think the bigger question is, at what point are we gong to start talking about the backstops being so close to the floor?” Stevens asked.
“I don’t know that there’s an exact answer. But we saw one of the scarier moments in college basketball in a long time on Saturday. When it involves a guy that’s on your team, it especially pulls and tugs at you.”
Clarke said he had not heard from Derenbecker but would not call the foul a dirty play.
“He didn’t want to make it an easy shot for me,” Clarke said. “That’s understandable. That’s part of the game. That’s a good point about how close the backstops are to the floor.”
Clarke conceded that he is impatient and wants to resume shooting as soon as possible. He routinely takes 500 three-point attempts a day. … [For more on Butler's Rotnei Clarke: 'I feel very blessed', click here.]