Hoopla: critics' talk bounces off Clarke

BASKETBALL

All those height-challenged basketballers out there need look no further than Hawks star Rotnei Clarke for inspiration.

The 183-centimetre guard has had his share of detractors since high school but he's never let the cynics bring him down.

If anything, criticism has served as a strong motivating force.

"I've always been doubted a lot, whether it be my height or my speed or whatever, but I just got in the gym and put up shots and developed a work ethic," Clarke said.

"It continued throughout my college career [in the US] and it's led over to here."

Clarke had 24 points in last Saturday's 82-79 home loss to Cairns and will be keen to lead from the front when Wollongong play the Crocodiles in Townsville on Friday night.

The 24-year-old is fourth in the league in scoring with 21.7 points per game.

Clarke enjoyed his recent battle with Adelaide guard Gary Ervin.

Both players had words for each other moments after the full-time siren sounded.

"It gets me going when guys talk trash like that. It makes me want to step my game up, play harder and play better," Clarke said.

"There shouldn't have been much talking at the end because the result was what it was and we should've went our separate ways.

"However, it just continued a little.

"It's about the team, it's not about two individuals trying to get into a fighting match."

Meanwhile, Adelaide coach Joey Wright keeps winning and losing in perspective.

"You're going to win two or three games you shouldn't win and you're going to lose two or three you shouldn't lose," Wright said.

"That happens every year I've ever coached."

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