The Illawarra Hawks have an exciting season and the return of sharpshooter Rotnei Clarke after time playing in Europe has been an extra boost for the side.
Now with the NBL finals season kicking off we thought it was time to put the spotlight on this exciting competition and one of the game’s most talented and inspiring players. Rotnei Clarke is one of the nice guys of basketball. A quiet sort of person, he tends to let his skills with the ball do the talking (and those skills certainly speak loud and clear). Even so, Rotnei is an outspoken and open Christian who credits much of his success to his faith.
You have played basketball in the USA, Australia, Belgium and Germany, is the experience different in each country? Yes, it is different. Each country speaks different languages, which was tough to get used to. The weather in Germany and Belgium is not as nice and it is cold there! But the leagues I played in are very good, with a lot of passionate fans, similar to the NBL and Wollongong. Being in Belgium and Germany, we got to visit a bunch of different countries and places throughout Europe.
What brought you back to the Hawks? Wollongong is an awesome place to live, and Australia is an English-speaking country. I love the passionate fans and being a part of the community here.
You are known for your sharp-shooting and many fans are counting on your skills. how do you deal with that kind of pressure? I put in a lot of extra work each and every day. So I believe that all the hard work I put in will pay off, and that gives me confidence going into each game!
What do you believe is the secret of your success in basketball? I believe my faith in God and my work ethic has gotten me to where I am now, and it is the reason I am successful.
What is your pre-game routine? I usually eat a really good lunch to get me fuelled for the game. I take a nap, and read scriptures from my Bible. I pray, and then I get to the gym early to get prepared and get shots up.
How has your career in basketball strengthened your faith in God? I think it is the other way around for me. I believe my faith in God has strengthened my basketball career!
What were your thoughts when (inspired by your Christian faith) fans were bringing Bibles to your high school games? It was a really cool thing to see, because it showed me that I was making an impact on people and that is what it is all about for me.
What advice would you give to young B’ball players? Set goals and work as hard as you can to reach them! Don’t let anyone tell you what you can and can’t do! Don’t give up, and work for what you want!
What would you say to kids who face bad sports (on and off the court) in competition? I would say that someone is always looking up to you no matter what age you are, and it is extremely important to keep your composure and be a good role model on and off the court at all times. You never know who is watching.
Published in Kidzone Mag 18 February 2017