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Time to Get to Know the 2014 Prospects, Vol. 2: Cliff Alexander

cliffalexander

Throughout the summer, we’re going to introduce you to UK’s top targets in the 2014 class. Last week, Ally profiled Emmanuel Mudiay for you, and this week, it’s time to get to know Cliff Alexander, the best power forward in the 2014 class.

CLIFF ALEXANDER

Vital Signs:

Power Forward

Chicago, Illinois

6’8″, 240 lbs.

Rivals: 5
ESPN: 2
Scout: 5
247: 10

Screen shot 2013-06-20 at 12.22.09 PM
Chart via 247

“THE LIST”:  Kentucky, Michigan State, DePaul, Florida State, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisville, Memphis, Michigan, Ohio State, Purdue, Tennessee, Wisconsin

Frontrunners: Kentucky, Michigan State, Kansas, Illinois

Buzz: Visited Kansas yesterday

Visited UK: 10/13/2012 for Big Blue Madness

Visit from Cal: 11/30/2012, 12/16/2012 (Antigua), 4/22/2013

Strengths:

— Large frame, with potential to add more bulk

— 7’2″ wingspan

— Very athletic for his size

— Great hands and timing on the glass for rebounds and blocks

— Toughness: aggressive, attacks the basket, finishes well and not afraid to get rough down low

— Excels in pick-and-roll situations

Weaknesses:

— Must stay on top of conditioning

— Lacks a “go-to move” offensively (although he is developing a nice left hook)

— No midrange game

What They’re Saying about Cliff:

Joe Henricksen: “I used to kind of scoff at the idea of Amar’e Stoudemire comparisons with Cliff. But now that you see him actually knocking down face-up jumpers and project what that could be like three or four years from now, you can see it.”

ESPN’s Reggie Rankin: “When the final ESPN 60 rankings came out, Alexander had top-10 status, coming in at No. 8 overall. He’s gone on to play great this spring with countless dominant performances to rise to No. 2 overall. With his ability to rebound at rim level, finish with power and a rapidly improving face-up game, Alexander has all the tools to be a game-changer in college.”

Scout.com: “Alexander is one of the more physical post prospects around. The 6-foot-9 big man has a strong frame that he isn’t afraid to toss around in the paint. He’s tough, active and a very good athlete that looks to grab every rebound he can get his hands on. Defensively he’s also effective contesting shots and defending the post. Offensively he’s getting better, but he still needs to develop a go-to scoring move. Right now his value is his motor inside.”

ESPN: “This big fella is in the argument for best player/prospect in the country. Big, strong and athletic, Alexander is productive every time he steps on the court. Some of the athletic plays he makes dunking the ball and blocking shots are not seen from any other player in high school currently.”

What He’s Saying about Kentucky:

When asked what his dream school was a year ago, Alexander said: Kentucky.”

“They want to develop me, get me like a Terrence Jones and I’m looking forward to that,” Alexander told ZagsBlog.com back in April. “[Karl Towns] and I can play together–he’s a five and I’m a four. We’ll work from there.”

On UK recruiting him: “They’re coming pretty hard. I had a home visit with them a couple of days ago. It went well. My parents love Coach Cal.” (April 2013)

On attending Big Blue Madness in 2012: “It was crazy. The fan base was crazy. The kids loved me. Everybody loved me. They chanted my name. It was love.” (April 2013)

On Cal: “He keeps telling me to go hard, and he wants me and wants to coach me one day,” he said. “I like them. I think Coach Cal gets the job done.(April 2013)

On Kentucky: “When I was coming out of eighth grade and I first started playing basketball, I wanted to go to Kentucky because I saw John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins and DeAndre Liggins out of there and I wanted to get in their predicament.” (April 2013)

Former Calipari Player Comparison:

Terrence-Jones

Terrence Jones

Alexander has said that the staff is trying to mold him into a Terrence Jones-style player to play alongside Karl Towns, who will take the 5 spot. Alexander says he would prefer that, since he would rather play power forward in college than center. Some traits that Terrence and Cliff share:

— Attack the basket aggressively

— Great rebounding skills

— Can run the floor

Reasons to Think Kentucky has a good chance:

He has discussed playing with Jahlil Okafor (his AAU teammate) and Tyus Jones at the next level, but recently shot down rumors that he’s part of their package deal. Why is that good news for Kentucky? Jones recently said that he also wants to play college ball with Justise Winslow, who has not received any interest from UK so far, so the odds that they come to Kentucky don’t look great.

However, Alexander has spoken glowingly of Kentucky and Cal, and would prefer to play the power forward position in college, something which the staff has proposed with Karl Towns as the center. Plus, there’s no better coach than Cal at getting players in the pros. Tom Izzo’s great, but he doesn’t have nearly as good a record at turning five-stars into lottery picks.

Reasons to worry if you’re a Kentucky fan:

Alexander loves Tom Izzo and Michigan State, going as far to say he can picture himself playing there. He is tight with the staff and players, including Gary Harris, whom he calls a close friend. He also like his home state school of Illinois, which was the first to give him an offer.

Reading the Tweet Leaves/Tweet Beat Potential

Good:

— Alexander accidentally set off a mini-riot after Andrew Wiggins chose Kansas when he said “Andrew gone take down the twins.” Kentucky fans being Kentucky fans, thought he meant the Harrison Twins, when in fact, he meant the Gonzalez Twins, who will play for Kansas’ women’s team this fall.

dylan-dakota-the-gonzalez-twins-reasons-to-watch-kansas-jayhawks-2014-pic007

Sorry for the misunderstanding, Cliff. The men of the BBN thank you for the introduction.

— After a Duke fan tweeted him to say that he needed to come to Duke, Alexander set him straight:

— In fact, he shoots down all sorts of rumors with ease:

Bad:

— Uses “Unfollowers.me,” which shows you how many people have followed/unfollowed you that day:

We know you’re popular, Cliff. No need to rub it in.

Seems to retweet Michigan State and Illinois fans more often than UK fans. (But, it’s best to not get lost in this analysis)

— May not know when the NBA Draft is:

(On the good side, at least he feels comfortable enough to ask his twitter followers for help.)

Video evidence:

Oh yeah, he also broke a backboard:

Final Judgement/How bad do we want him?:

We want him pretty badly. Alexander’s stock has been rising due to some seriously impressive performances this summer, and with Julius Randle (and potentially Alex Poythress) gone to the NBA after next season, Kentucky will need to fill the 4 spot. With Okafor/Jones/Winslow going elsewhere, Kentucky’s 2014 class could shape up to be Towns, Mudiay, Vaughn, and Alexander, which is pretty freaking good. It will be interesting to see what impact Dakari Johnson’s decision will have on Alexander, but so far, Kentucky seems to be in a very good spot with Alexander, who will narrow his list to ten schools later this month.

Article written by Mrs. Tyler Thompson

No, I will not make you a sandwich, but you can follow me on Twitter @MrsTylerKSR or email me.

9 Comments for Time to Get to Know the 2014 Prospects, Vol. 2: Cliff Alexander



  1. Musehobo
    3:11 pm June 20, 2013 Permalink

    Well I hope some of our IDIOT fans didn’t run him off. I swear people, what is your problem? Why would you tweet stupid crap to teenagers?



  2. Will S
    3:30 pm June 20, 2013 Permalink

    I think he’ll end up at UK. Izzo can’t seem to close the deal on very many 5* prospects. As long as a good amount of players leave (Randle, Poythress, Dakari), chances are he ends up in Lexington. Marcus Lee and Wiltjer will not keep him from coming to UK.



  3. yesterays
    3:52 pm June 20, 2013 Permalink

    Saw this kid at Marshall County Hoopfest. Really, really like his game. Dont agree with the T Jones comparisons at all. He reminds me of Patrick Patterson. He is physical and he can bang. I think he has a nice enough jump shot. Just needs to practice it. He is pretty smooth.

  4. Not that this has anything to do with the above topic, but this is what happens when you let a non-sports fan do your sports merchandise marketing:
    http://www.walmart.com/ip/Centon-Electronics-University-of-Kansas-Edition-iPad-case/20841773



  5. UK Romeo
    4:04 pm June 20, 2013 Permalink

    Haha, I think this dude is hilarious. Take down the twins is pretty funny. Can’t believe some of our fans ability to be dumb rednecks. Who wouldn’t take down those twins? That’s probably how Kansas got wiggins. He got the royal treatment from those babes.



  6. Don
    4:16 pm June 20, 2013 Permalink

    Make sure of your facts..Justice Winslow dropped UK a long time ago..It isn’t like we don’t have any interest in him. That was reported on other boards back in the winter.He is a heck of a player and I would love to have him.



  7. gary
    5:22 pm June 20, 2013 Permalink

    Why would we worry whether a kid is gonna play for UK or not? Wont make a bit of difference worrying about it. Just let Cal do his thing.



  8. Stooooooops
    7:48 pm June 20, 2013 Permalink

    My guess is Cal lands Mudiay, Towns, Johnson, and 1 of the other big guys he’s offered. I might be off but I think Young, Dakari, Lee,and Poythress will be back. I just don’t see those guys getting to shine this year. The Twins, Randle and one of Johnson or WCS are going to get the bulk of the points and PT. Young could play his way in.



  9. Stooooooops
    7:51 pm June 20, 2013 Permalink

    7) How much have times changed. In the Tubby years if we could get a kid like this interested our whole season would ride on him! Now I think your 100% correct if we whiff on him Cal will just get anther top self player!