Star Butler guard Rotnei Clarke was taken off on a stretcher with 8:13 to play in the first half of the Bulldogs’ matchup with Dayton Saturday afternoon.
Clarke was fouled hard by Dayton forward Matt Derenbecker on a drive to the basket, causing him to lose his balance in mid-air. He fell awkwardly and his head speared the base of the backboard support. He was in immediate visible pain and was tended to by team doctors who attempted to keep him from moving as a precaution.
While being attended to, microphones picked up Clarke’s dialogue with those attending to him, insisting that he return to the game, but he was taken off on a stretcher. Doctors were also heard talking about what the injury could be, suggesting perhaps it was a stinger.
Clarke had full movement of his arms and legs when he was taken to the locker room on a stretcher. He gave the crowd a “thumbs up” gesture as he was taken into the tunnel. He was taken to a local hospital.
UPDATE 12 January 2013, 4:58 p.m. ET
According to David Woods of the Indianapolis Star, Clarke has been evaluated and tests show he does not have spinal damage after the fall. Woods cites the Butler trainer in saying that Clarke is being released from the hospital and will travel on the team bus with the Bulldogs.
Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_
Not only is Wyoming senior guard Josh Adams the lone returning starter from a team that won the Mountain West tournament last season, but he’s also one of college basketball’s best dunkers. And if anyone may have forgotten about his jumping ability, Adams put it on display Saturday during the Cowboys’ win over Montana State.
After splitting two Montana State players at the top of the key Adams attacked the basket, dunking with two hands over a late-arriving help-side defender. If you’re going to rotate over, have to do it quicker than that.
Video credit: Wyoming Athletics
Even with the coaching change from Fred Hoiberg to Steve Prohm, No. 4 Iowa State remains one of the nation’s best offensive teams. Given their skills on that end of the floor many teams find it tough to go score for score with the Cyclones, and that’s what happened to Illinois in Iowa State’s 84-73 win in the Emerald Coast Classic title game.
Georges Niang scored 23 points and grabbed eight rebounds, with Monté Morris adding 20, nine rebounds and six assists and Abdel Nader 18 points as the Cyclones moved to 5-0 on the season. The three-pointers weren’t falling in the second half, as Iowa State shot 0-f0r-12, but they shot 19-for-24 inside of the arc to pull away from a team that lost big man Mike Thorne Jr. late in the first half to a left knee injury.
Illinois’ loss of size in the paint opened things up offensively for Iowa State, and the Cyclones took advantage. But where this group grabbed control of the game was on the defensive end of the floor, and that will be the key for a team with Big 12 and national title aspirations.
Nader took on the responsibility of defending Illinois’ Malcolm Hill (20 points) in the second half and did a solid job of keeping the junior wing in check, with that serving as the spark to a 12-2 run that put the game away. There’s no denying that the Cyclones can put points on the board; most of the talent from last season is back and the productivity on that end of the floor hasn’t changed as a result. Niang’s one of the nation’s best forwards, and both Morris (who now ranks among the country’s best point guards) and Nader have taken significant strides in their respective games.
Iowa State will add Deonte Burton in December, giving them another option to call upon. Front court depth is a bit of a concern, as Iowa State can ill afford to lose a Niang or Jameel McKay, but there’s enough on the roster to compensate for that and force mismatches in other areas.
But the biggest question for this group is how effective they can become at stringing together stops. Illinois certainly had its moments in both halves Saturday night, but Iowa State also showed during the game’s decisive stretch that they can step up defensively. The key now is to do so consistently, and if that occurs the Cyclones can be a threat both within the Big 12 and nationally.