Joe Clarke appeared on SportsCenter this afternoon to discuss New Rochelle basketball’s ongoing run to the state final four. I caught up with Clarke. Here’s a story on his appearance, and a photo of him with ESPN’s Skip Bayless:
The 6-foot-3 senior was interviewed on ESPN during Monday’s 12 p.m. SportsCenter. He discussed Sunday’s three-point play with 7.0 seconds remaining that lifted the Huguenots over Kingston 63-60 in the Class AA regional final.
“It was fun,” Clarke said afterward by phone. “It was enjoyable.”
Clarke appeared live from a studio in Manhattan. (ESPN is located in Bristol, Conn.) He also answered questions about New Rochelle’s whirlwind week, which began with teammate Khalil Edney’s 60-foot buzzer-beater on March 3 to beat Mount Vernon in the Section 1 championship.
It was also noted that Clarke caught a last-second touchdown pass from Edney in the state semifinals last November. The Huguenots won a state championship the following week. On Sunday, it was Edney who set up Clarke for the winning basket.
“Khalil, he’s like a brother to me,” Clarke told ESPN. “We just have that connection.”
The two friends were together last week for Edney’s tour of the national talk show circuit. Clarke appeared in several of the interviews, including ABC’s “Good Morning America,” but he wasn’t included in the ESPN interview with Edney and coach Rasaun Young.
He thought his dream might never come true.
“Part of me did want to be on, but I didn’t make the shot and he deserved the recognition,” Clarke said. “At first, I thought it would never happen again. But once I heard yesterday that I would be on ESPN, I was so excited.”
Like Edney last week, Clarke was joined over the phone by former New Rochelle star Ray Rice, who ESPN also brought in during its interview with Edney last week. This time, Rice, a Super Bowl champion with the Baltimore Ravens who played on the city’s last state final four team in 2005, said the achievements of the Class of 2013 rank right there with his teams.
“(They) are definitely up there with the best of the best,” Rice said. “No one thought you could top ‘The Shot,’ but, next thing you know, Joe’s making all kinds of buzzer-beaters.”
Clarke was scheduled to return to school for practice at 3:15 Monday afternoon. His Huguenots’ season will continue at 12:30 p.m. Saturday when they play Long Island champion Northport in the state semifinals at the Glens Falls Civic Center.
“They’ve been counted out before. Nobody even expected them to go this far,” Rice said during the interview. “One thing I would always say to them is that they trust and believe in each other. They’re probably the only group in that locker room that believes that they can do what they need to do and that is to win a state championship.”