New Wollongong Hawks import Rotnei Clarke has arrived in Australia with a point to prove.
But that’s nothing new for Clarke, and it’s certainly no millstone around his neck.
The 183-centimetre guard has a pretty decent track record of silencing the doubters and has faith history will repeat itself.
‘‘It’s nice to be able to do something that someone tells you that you can’t,’’ Clarke said before his first training session with the Hawks on Sunday.
‘‘I was doubted a lot coming out of high school just because of my size. I was told I’d never be able to play Division One basketball, and I was able to do that.
‘‘Obviously there’s going to be some people doubting me and my abilities or lack of size, and I think I can find different ways to make up for that. That’s what I’ve tried to do throughout my college career and hopefully I’ll continue to do that in my professional career.’’
Clarke began his college career at Arkansas shortly after becoming the all-time leading scorer in the history of Oklahoma high school basketball.
After three years at Arkansas, he transferred to Butler for his senior year and was ranked among the nation’s top 40 college players.
Despite working out with NBA teams in the American summer, he wasn’t selected in the annual draft.
But Clarke isn’t the type to quit and sulk.
‘‘I’m a faith-based guy and I believe I’m here for a reason. It’s just wherever God leads me really,’’ the 24-year-old said.
‘‘I’m taking this as my first opportunity to play professionally, and wherever that takes me, great.
‘‘If that’s a stepping stone to maybe me possibly getting back over and playing in the NBA at some point, or whether that’s coming back here or going somewhere else, it’s just a good experience for me and a good opportunity for me.’’
Clarke touched down in Sydney on Saturday after a 17-hour flight and looked surprisingly fresh.
‘‘This is the first time I’ve left the United States,’’ he said.
‘‘The flight was long, but I slept most of the way so it wasn’t that bad actually. I feel pretty good physically. I’m just a little tired and the legs are a little jetlagged.
‘‘I just want to get loose and get adjusted. I’m excited to be here. It’s a good opportunity.’’