Sunday, January 20, 2013
When will Clarke return?
By Matt Giles
Even though Butler was able to defeat Gonzaga without Rotnei Clarke in the lineup, Brad Stevens will need his sharpshooting guard healthy if the Bulldogs are going to contend with VCU and the other teams in the Atlantic 10's top tier.
Based on various reports, Clarke will return to action when Butler plays Temple, which means the 6-footer will miss the upcoming game against La Salle. While the Explorers recently lost to Xavier (a team whose 4-0 record is the surprise of the conference), they could be a tough match-up for Butler sans Clarke. Steve Zack is averaging roughly 22 minutes per game this season, up from the nine minutes he played a year ago, but Dr. John Giannini often uses a four-guard lineup now that Tyrone Garland, a transfer from Virginia Tech, is eligible.
One interesting takeaway from the Gonzaga win is the emergence of Kellen Dunham. The freshman has one of the team's best offensive ratings, and attempts nearly 20 percent of Butler's shots, but the guard was somewhat undervalued. However, against the Zags, Dunham was able to fill Clarke's scoring role and connected on four (of eight) long-range attempts.