Sunday, May 17, 2015

Cliff Alexander hopes to make up for lost time

Kansas forward Cliff Alexander watches warmups on Saturday, Feb. 28, 2015 at Allen Fieldhouse. Kansas University officials announced that Alexander will not play against Texas after they were alerted to a potential eligibility issue involving Alexander by the NCAA.

Kansas forward Cliff Alexander watches warmups on Saturday, Feb. 28, 2015 at Allen Fieldhouse. Kansas University officials announced that Alexander will not play against Texas after they were alerted to a potential eligibility issue involving Alexander by the NCAA.


NBA scouts and front-office personnel didn’t get to see much of Cliff Alexander in his one season at Kansas University. As a result, the 6-foot-81⁄2 power forward from Chicago said during a media session at the Draft Combine he’ll have to prove himself to various teams in the weeks to come.

Alexander only played in 28 games, averaging 17.6 minutes, before declaring for the NBA Draft and didn’t finish his freshman season as a KU contributor because the NCAA opened an investigation into possible improper benefits tied to his family.

In an interview posted by, the troubled big man characterized his up-and-down season as an “OK experience” and was asked why an NBA team should take a chance on him.

“I’m gonna work hard, do what I need to do to earn playing time, compete every time I step on the floor,” Alexander responded. “I’m a great rebounder. I can finish around the rim, and like I said, I can alternate shots.”

If there is a misconception about his skill set, Alexander claimed, it’s that he can’t shoot. He hopes to convince teams otherwise when they bring him in for workouts. The big man, who averaged 7.1 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.3 blocks with the Jayhawks, said he didn’t take many jumpers at Kansas, so some scouts might not know about that aspect of his repertoire.

“I can shoot the jump shot. I just have to get it consistent,” Alexander said. “I can knock the 15-foot jump shot down, the elbow jump shot down.”

Projected as a late-first-round or early second-round pick in the 2015 draft, Alexander said representatives from Washington, New York, Golden State, Memphis, Dallas, San Antonio, Chicago, Houston, Phoenix and other franchises interviewed him at the combine.

Alexander said the NCAA investigation — Yahoo! reported Alexander’s mother, Latillia, made a public filing in August, tying her to a financial firm — came up in the sessions.

KU removed Alexander from the lineup prior to its home game against Texas on Feb. 28, and the freshman post player, who was a starter at the time, missed the final eight games of the season. He said he got through the difficult stretch with help from his mother.

“It was hard for me sitting back, sitting on my bed, watching my team play in the tournament,” Alexander said. “My mom came out. She supported me big time, helped me boost my confidence.”


Matthew Roesner 4 years, 8 months ago

Cliff...Once a Jayhawk, always a Jayhawk. Wishing you success. Go represent the Jayhawk Nation well.

Ashwin Rao 4 years, 8 months ago

Poor Cliff.. it is an up-hill battle after what he went though. He needs to prove himself like never before. Unfortunately, his draft status seems to have plummeted after the combine

Fred Whitehead Jr. 4 years, 8 months ago

"Alexander only played in 28 games, averaging 17.6 minutes, before declaring for the NBA Draft and didn’t finish his freshman season as a KU contributor"

What more information do you need?? This young man had failed and the university has failed to educate him on the facts of life and that he cannot just show up and say "here I am" and be guaranteed billions of dollars. It does not work that way.

As you know, I have raved and ranted about the university tolerating this "one year wonder" stuff with these players. They come in, toss a few balls, make a few goals and then think they can set the world and the NBA on fire by leaving school before ever completing their college education. And then when a situation like this crops us, well, it is the kid who suffers the difficulty. He should have been required to finish his education that the university offers and then went out in the cold and cruel world prepared for whatever transpires.

Call me stupid or just plain opinionated, but you can never be too well prepared to face whatever life presents you with. Bouncing a ball and tossing it into a basket is not much in the way of credentials in today's world or life situation.

Jay Scott 4 years, 8 months ago

"Call me stupid or just plain opinionated".......You have that correct.

Dale Rogers 4 years, 8 months ago

Wiggins seems to be doing ok. McLemore's gaining ground. Both are millionaires now. In Self's system, those who can't, sit. When they get with the program and figure it out, then they play. That's as it should be. Self clearly counsels those he thinks are not ready that they should stay. If they choose to ignore that advice, it's not his fault and not the University's fault.

RJ King 4 years, 8 months ago

Agree. Cliff's comments are night and day from Oubre's. And the difference lies in their situations and response to it, rather than Kansas basketball (Self + staff) in general.

His Mom better have supported him, since she poured the hot water in the first place.

Did Cliff mean, "I can alter shots?" Or did he really mean "alternate" from near and far???

Jay Scott 4 years, 8 months ago

Cliff has a lot to prove. Let's hope it all works out for him.

Otavio Silva 4 years, 8 months ago

Cliff did not failed, nor KU failed him. Unfortunately, because on NCAA rules he became virtually ineligible when his mom got involved with loan(s) on his NBA potential career.

Cliff and KU hands were tied, and he could not finish his degree AND playing, if he wanted. He had no choice but to declare for the draft.

At the end, he will be fine, and hopefully will be well advised in his career.

Good luck Cliff, best wishes, and remember Once a Jayhawk, Always a Jayhawk.

Jeff Coffman 4 years, 8 months ago

The early exit from college is difficult. This situation is a little more difficult because many people including Cliff wanted him to come back.

I've always thought the specific rule of oad is bad; however, I have always said if I could get my college training in one year or two I would have. I think people need to think that KU is one of the best universities at preparing basketball players for their future basketball careers whether it takes one year like Andrew Wiggins or four years like Perry Ellis. I think Paul Pierce was three and a variety of others are less. My point is education is a process and whether they graduate or not they are Jayhawks prepared for the future.

Jeff Coffman 4 years, 8 months ago

One thing I am somewhat surprised about in this article is the support of his mom. I'm glad and supportive of this, but during the early part of the investigation it was continually mentioned his mom had taken the financial filing out and his father and cliff were trying to disavow the mom in his life. I'm really happy about the family. I'm disappointed about the inconsistencies in the subject. Again I am hoping everything works out in the longrun.

Harlan Hobbs 4 years, 8 months ago

Fred, you make some good points, but I think you will admit that there doesn't appear to be much change on the horizon.

We all know that some people (a small minority) attend college to expand their sports skills and to make sports their career. Unfortunately, very few make it in the professional world of sports.

I agree with you that an education (not necessarily a college one) is almost always essential to success in life. Certainly, it is something that they can never take away from you.

John Williams 4 years, 8 months ago

Maybe this is exactly what cliff needed at this time in his young and very talented life. Its not how anyone would scripted it for him, but at some point all of the prima Donna's lives are called to task to answer the bell or flop like a fish out of water. I personally think that if he is given the right guidance and encouragement that he will thrive with time. He is more than capable of displaying the physical, God given abilities that got him a scholly at Kansas University. His biggest supporter should be mom since she apparently played a large role in his "hurried up" status. What I did see in this young man that I watched play was a willingness to get after it and he was much more valuable to his teammates and program on the defensive side of the ball. I say the best to u cliff and turn up the "real" skills and leave the ego go.

Tony Bandle 4 years, 8 months ago

! would be most curious to see what his mother did with the money from that loan.

He has had an unfortunate couple of years with his high school forfeiting a bunch of games and he becoming ineligible in college. Hopefully, his luck and his life will straighten out.

Paul Christiansen 4 years, 8 months ago

The NCAA is the problem. I actually feel sorry for Alexander. The "rules" are becoming harder and harder to live with. Good luck Cliff!

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