Monday, March 2, 2015

Bill Self says there’s no news on Cliff Alexander situation as work-week begins

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.


Nothing has been decided by the NCAA regarding Kansas University freshman Cliff Alexander’s eligibility issue, coach Bill Self said on today’s Big 12 teleconference.

“We found out about it Saturday and there have only been a couple hours of work hours since then, so obviously there’s no update on that situation,” Self said.

“I would think we’re not going to give a day-to-day update. We’ll just wait. Whenever we know something we’ll let you (media) know, but as of now there’s no new timeline. Everything’s just the same. We’re just trying to get as much stuff done as we possibly can to hopefully expedite it so we can have — best-case scenario (have) Cliff back soon. That’s where it’s at.”

Asked if he feels better or worse about the situation since Saturday, Self said: “I would say maybe a little better, I mean me personally in how I feel. The obvious thing is let’s get to the bottom of it and get it resolved. I feel confident everybody wants to do that, so that right there is probably something that makes me feel a little better. It’s a case when I first found out I didn’t know if there was a priority, what the priority was or anything. But I think everybody is on the same page. (It’s an) important time of the year. We need to do what’s best for the young man and that’s get it resolved as quickly as possible.”


Justin Carlson 7 years, 7 months ago

I maybe the only one who views these situations as a perfect opportunity to tell the NBA let these $%#$ players go straight out of HS. I am sick of hearing all of the controversy surrounding the players status grades, gifts, and such! LET THEM GO> Good lord vacated wins unwanted attention to your school, and never truly getting a chance to get to know a "student athlete"! Selby's problems BMAC problem and Cliff, and if you dug deep enough you would find problems with almost all top tier 5 star recruits. I am not saying BS should stop going after the five star kids what I am saying is players that reclassify change schools or are from Chicago come with a * next to their status. A problem KU doesn't need. Thon Maker I can promise you will never be cleared. I want players that that will commit to the program (not just KU) not use college as a "D league" this crap is ruining college basketball and I for one can't stand it. Finally what happens when the NCAA pulls out the evidence that Cliff's got $ or grades were changed and KU has to forfeit their 11 straight. LET THEM GO!! I dont want them!!!

Robert Brock 7 years, 7 months ago

Why don't you petition the NBA Players Union?

Justin Carlson 7 years, 7 months ago

Brett +1

College basketball has always been such an amazing game. From the difficult conference games, the great rivalries, March Madness, and now it is turned into ESPN showing a kid pick a hat! I love this game and love the University of Kansas it is just so hard to see what it is becoming.
Folks let us not forget this is about Students Athletes and Basketball. Our society, shoe company's, NCAA, AAU, and NBA is ruining the game.
Oh Robert thanks for your well thought out suggestion, I doubt my my paper work will make it to the Players Union.

Joe Ross 7 years, 7 months ago

Suppose you offer to 20 guys and only 4 come to your campus. You dont even have enough to play! Besides, its unfair in principle to punish schools for decisions of players. That to me is unthinkable. More than that, everything Im reading in the comments seems to take the school's-eye-view about one-and-dones, when I think the right perspective is to think about what is best for the kids.

Here is a proposal. Adam Silver and the Players' Union get together and establish an age-limit rule of 20. This effectively makes college players play two years, to ensure that they develop (that's a player's-eye-view, insofar as it considers their best interest). But I think there should be avenues to let certain kids bypass the rule based on their performance in their first season; that is to say, if they've shown a certain level of development as a player. Adam Silver and the NCAA should establish criteria to bypass a TAD rule. Could be things like Conference First Team (end of the year), a certain number of points per game average, Winner of a season award (Naismith, Wooden, etc.), and so on. If you've demonstrated maturity on the collegiate level then there should be nothing to hold you back, and you should be allowed to be OAD. On the other hand, if you haven't demonstrated that level of national attention but want to take your chances after two years you should be allowed to. A couple of years of college coaching is enough to have learned some fundamentals and to have had the opportunity to demonstrate them at the collegiate level.

To be clear, however, players serve their own interests by developing their skills before making the jump. So it's best for them. As a secondary consideration, skilled players are also good for the NBA (despite coaches who feel that they can coach them up in the NBA. Didn't work out well for Thomas Robinson, Julian Wright, and a handful of others). Watching players come along is also good for the college game. It's a win-win-win.

But to me, to mandate that a kid stay three years is not only un-American, it may hurt the kid's family financially for a longer-than-necessary amount of time. In addition, a 3-year-plus rule would push kids to the D-league or overseas, and college basketball would miss out on some pretty amazing players.

Cody Riedy 7 years, 7 months ago

I'm not sure your proposal wouldn't just create new problems. I know your just throwing out some rough outline hypotheticals here. But looking at even these sketch ideas, there's potential problems. For example, you said a potential criteria for being permitted to bypass a sophomore season being 1st team all-conference. What if a kid finishes second team? There's already politics around these decisions, wouldn't such a proposal just make post season awards and voting that much more controversial - i.e. now people aren't just voting on an award, they are voting on whether or not a kid is given the chance to become a millionaire or wait a year. I suppose there are already pressure on coaches now to back up their selling point to OAD's that their program is the one to get the kid to the NBA, but now if there was specific criteria, that would put a lot of pressure on the coach and the kid; e.g. does a coach let a player shoot more than is good for the team to hit the PPG mark so the kid can declare for the draft so that the coach can back up his recruiting pitch when he goes after the next guy? Again, I know you were just sketching some possibilities, but I guess my point is that anything other than defining an age limit would probably get to messy.

Aaron Paisley 7 years, 7 months ago

No, just no.

Kids should not go straight from HS to the NBA. Seriously, how many HS players were truly ready for the NBA out of HS? LeBron and that's it. D-Howard and Amare Stoudamire were good, but not great out of HS. That's it. Kobe Bryant wasn't an impact player as a rookie, Kevin Garnett wasn't an impact player as a rookie along with every other HS kid.

The rules should not be made for the exceptions with regards to early entrants. Go look at the number of early entrants pre and post LeBron. That's why the NBA doesn't need to go back to the old rule. ESPN's coverage of HS ball as a result of LeBron has made way too many kids think they're ready for the NBA when they aren't even close to ready.

Joe Joseph 7 years, 7 months ago

The problem with forcing kids to go to school is that some actually are ready to play and contribute in the NBA. Why on earth should someone like Lebron James have to go to college for a year?

One of two things need to happen (or both):

1) The NBA should allow kids straight out of high school to declare for the draft, but require kids who go to college to spend at least 2 years in school.

2) The NCAA should allow kids to declare for the draft, but if they are not taken in the first round (guaranteed money), allow them the option to return to school so long as they do not sign an agent, or sign with a team by a certain date. The NBA team that drafted the student would have first "dibs" on signing him the following summer. If the team no longer wants to offer him a contract, said player would then be able to reenter the draft pool.

Obviously, both scenarios would require both the NCAA and NBA to work together. Which is doubtful to happen. Ever. But it sure seems like it would create a win-win situation for all parties.

Aaron Paisley 7 years, 7 months ago

There's been 3 kids that have contributed right away out of HS. LeBron, Dwight, and Amare, that's it.

Here's the list of kids that declared out of HS pre and post LeBron and what pick they were. The 2003 draft is being excluded because that is the LeBron draft.

1995 (1 player): Kevin Garnett*^ (5)

1996 (2 players): Kobe Bryant (13)^, Jermaine O'Neal (17)

1997 (1 player): Tracy McGrady* (9)

1998 (3 players): Al Harrington (25), Rashard Lewis* (32), Korleone Young (40)

1999 (2 players): Jonathan Bender (5), Leon Smith (29)

2000 (2 players): Darius Miles (3), DeShawn Stephenson (23)

2001 (5 players): Kwame Brown (1), Tyson Chandler* (2), Eddy Curry (4), DeSagana Diop (8), Ousmane Cisse% (47)

2002 (1 player): Amar'e Stoudamire* (9)

2004 (8 players): Dwight Howard* (1), Shaun Livingston (4), Robert Swift (12), Sebastian Telfair (13), Al Jefferson (15), Josh Smith (17), JR Smith (18), Dorrell Wright (19)

2005 (9 players): Martell Webster (6), Andrew Bynum* (10), Gerald Green (18), CJ Miles (34) Ricky Sanchez% (35), Monta Ellis (40), Louis Williams (45), Andray Blatche (49), Amir Johnson (56)

*All Star ^MVP %Did not play in NBA

For the record, there 5 HS kids in the 2003 LeBron draft with LeBron being the only all-star out of that bunch.

From 1995 through 2002, there were 18 HS kids that were drafted by the NBA in those 8 years which averages out to 2.25 players year. Out of those 18 players, 7 became all-stars and 2 of those won MVP awards.

In the 2 years post LeBron (2004 and 2005), there were 17 kids drafted which averages out 8.5 players per year. Out of those 17 players, only 2 have been all-stars and one of those 2 (Bynum) is out of the league now.

The facts don't lie, the number of HS kids that entered the NBA draft in the 2 years was 1 short of the total number in 8 years prior to LeBron entering the league. These HS kids get hyped to the moon now (remember all the buzz about Wiggins and Josh Selby) and are told they are ready for the NBA when they clearly are not ready.

There is not a single argument anyone can make that will convince me that allowing HS kids to jump straight to the NBA is in the best interest of those kids. In 11 years and 40 HS kids, only 3 made an immediate impact as rookies, that's 7.5%. Shouldn't the rules be in place to look out for the 92.5% of players who weren't ready for the NBA as a rookie? The 7.5% will be fine even if they go to college for a year or two and then on to the NBA. If an injury happens, they'll have an insurance policy to pay out several million dollars and a college degree with alums willing to help them out with jobs with they graduate.

Walter Bridges 7 years, 7 months ago

Moses Malone, Shawn Kemp (never played a college game though he did attend UK and Trinity University), Amare Stoudemire, Kendrick Perkins, Tracy McGrady, Jermaine O'Neal, Al Jefferson, Josh Smith..all had better than average careers, some having great careers. Would they have done better if having spent a year in college? No way to know.

Aaron Paisley 7 years, 7 months ago

Shawn Kemp doesn't count because he did go to Kentucky, but was academically ineligible like Ben McLemore and Jamari.

I also believe you missed the point of my post. The point of my post was not to name all of the HS kids that eventually became good players, it was point out the ones who had an immediate impact in the NBA from the moment they laced up their shoes as an 18-19 year old rookie. I use being named first team all-rookie as the standard for this, and there have only been 3 HS kids named to the all-rookie first team, Amar'e Stoudemire (2003), LeBron James (2004), and Dwight Howard (2005). A lot of the players that took time to develop, it's because their bodies weren't physically ready to play an 82+ game schedule (including potential playoff games) against grown men when they had been playing 30-35 games against 15-18 year olds. A year or 2 in college to physically develop their bodies would've been highly beneficial to almost all of these kids along with easing into being an adult instead of going from living with your parents to being away from home for 7 months at least with no supervision. A lot of kids aren't ready for that at that age and college also helps with the maturing process. They're away from home, but there's minimal down time compared to being in the NBA.

Joe Joseph 7 years, 7 months ago

And I think you missed the point of Walter's post.

There's no way of knowing if a year in college would have "better prepared" any of those preps for the NBA. In fact, a "year of college" could potentially hurt a prospect's draft status and long-term money making potential. Josh Selby is a great example of this. If Selby is allowed to enter the draft straight out of high school - BAM - he's a multi-millionaire and set for life if wise with his money. Going to college actually hurt Selby financially. Would Selby have developed into a 1st round draft pick at KU? Perhaps. Would he have ever been a top-3 type of guy? Probably not. He simply didn't have the tools and the fact that he hasn't found a way to make an NBA roster is evident to that.

There's also a misconception that kids can't get better by sitting on the bench in the NBA, or from playing sparingly. Those guys are still banging with the best in the business during practice and getting paid for it. A lot.

College isn't for everyone. Nor is playing college basketball. I'm just sick of kids using college as nothing more than an inconvenient necessity to playing in the NBA. If they want to go, and an NBA team wants to take a risk on them, LET EM!

Walter Bridges 7 years, 7 months ago

I think you've got a pretty good idea Brett which means it will never be implemented.

Joey Berland 7 years, 7 months ago

I don't think this has anything to do since he's come to KU. If you remember a couple starters on his HS team were declared ineligible to play in the state championship But Cliff was exonerated and played , I don't remember if they won. I'm guessing it has to do with Curry HS in good ol Chicago

Steve Gantz 7 years, 7 months ago

Cliff's team was upset in the early rounds of the tournament last year.

Andy Tweedy 7 years, 7 months ago

I'm not going to pretend to completely understand the situation, but if a player is cleared by the clearinghouse and the evidence doesn't point to KU knowing something regarding ineligibility, it would seem to me this problem really only affects Cliff long-term, not 11 straight Big XII titles or vacating wins. Somebody on here the other day mentioned Mamphis got slammed for the Derrick Rose deal, but wasn't a Memphis assistant somehow involved in the SAT score?

Kristen Downing 7 years, 7 months ago

Cliff knows, so Self has an idea. His way of saying not our business.

Joe Ross 7 years, 7 months ago

Damn straight, Kristen. There is no way Coach Self knows nothing. He may know nothing "officially", but it's unthinkable that he and Cliff haven't discussed the situation between themselves. Absolutely unthinkable.

Joe Ross 7 years, 7 months ago

I believe the last time we had a question about eligibility like this was with Darrell Arthur. The grade change (revelation?) after the NC in '08.

The NCAA must review college athletes' transcripts to determine if they are eligible for college play. If the NCAA finds out that Arthur would not have been able to play, Kansas may have to forfeit all of the games Arthur played in, including this year's national championship.


Dale Rogers 7 years, 7 months ago

More recently, Ben McLemore and his mother's long, long-time friend who helped her put food on their table when Ben was in grade school, the guy who later took money from an agent. He may have become an agent, I can't recall.

Joe Ross 7 years, 7 months ago

You are absolutely right. I stand corrected. Ben McLemore was involved with Rodney Blackstock, who made payments to Ben's family presumably to "buy influence", although Ben denied any knowledge of payments made. But the whole fiasco did put Kansas in the cross-hairs of the NCAA.

Cody Riedy 7 years, 7 months ago

Some of the issues being raised surrounding this so far mystery situation surrounding Cliff, brings to mind two general questions I think of often when talking with other sports fans:

  1. Why do some many sports fans in general take on such a paternalistic attitude toward college athletes? I.e. when it comes to a young black man making money, suddenly everyone has an opinion about what is best for the kid, but for the other 99.9% of young black youth, people don't seem to express much heartfelt concern for what is good for the kid.

  2. Generally speaking, especially in this area of the country, probably a clear plurality of people belief in (what I personally think is largely a mythological) "free" market and extol the virtues of the unfettered pursuit of private self-interest, particularly economic self-interest. Yet, when we talk about college sports, what we generally treat as "quaint" notions creep in - i.e. fealty to the program, a sense of history and a responsibility to it, notions of community and family and shared responsibility toward each other. I guess my question is why do some of us feel that sports should be protected from purely economic calculation, while at the same time believing that market "science" is the supreme science.

I don't mean these questions to be antagonistic. I ask out of genuine curiosity how others do or do not sort these potential contradictions of opinion out for themselves.

Ludwig Supraphonic 7 years, 7 months ago

I will probably watch the KU game tomorrow without flipping channels to a pro game, business or news network.

Justin Carlson 7 years, 7 months ago

What other sports gives us goosebumps every time a game starts? Where else can u watch a game live "AFH" and get emotional because of the atmosphere? What other program/sport/0players would have dads high five their kids after every basket for the last 15 years all the while wearing the same KU clothes and always sitting in the same spots during every single game! I am sorry if KU basketball is within my family but it has been for 35+ years from my dad and now to my girls! I don't want to ruin a sport that brings my family together wether it is in AFH or in the Carlson living room!!

Cody Riedy 7 years, 7 months ago

You're exactly right in regards to the NBA's motivation and on a side note, I think you provide a good example of how the "real" economy works, as in, it is rarely ever "free". People with power, in this case, the NBA, created artificial rules that protect them, but harm others (all those flops that would have made millions anyways). They make rules to protect themselves from risk, yet part of the ideal of the marketplace, is the risk-taking entrepreneur. I suppose there's a big difference between a small start-up and a corporate power. In my modest opinion, many a politician makes political hay by conflating wall street and corporate economics with the entrepreneur and small-business. But hey, I'm getting too far from sports and too near to politics.

If we think of programs as being part of the market, than we should praise Calipari as chief CEO - his product is a near monopoly on talent, generates tons of wealth, and is highly efficient - kids come in, win a lot, get drafted high, and make a lot.

Anyways, to be clear, I'm not an advocate of "free" market ethics really in any sphere, I just think its interesting when, where and how the market ideal is applied. And generally, I find it interesting how sports reflects broader cultural/political attitudes and views, even when we're not always conscious of doing so.

Aaron Paisley 7 years, 7 months ago

I made a post above about the LeBron/ESPN effect on HS kids. In the 8 years prior to LeBron being drafted in 2003, there were 18 kids drafted out of HS. 7 of those 18 kids made an all star team at some point in the NBA, and 2 won MVP awards. In the 2 years after LeBron (the 2004 and 2005 drafts), there were 17 HS kids drafted and only 2 have ever made an all star team.

Cody Riedy 7 years, 7 months ago

I read that, which by the way, thanks for compiling and sharing the data. To be fair though, one would have to compare the success rate of those coming out of high school with those who played college ball first. In any case, I'd guess the success rate is very low. It would be interesting to compare the data, if there is much yet, comparing those who went to the NBA straight out of college to those who are now choosing to go overseas for their one year wait. I think you have a good point though that the "Lebron-effect" kind of broke the system that before that, was probably working ok.

All that said, I wouldn't argue with you that most kids are better off going to college for a whole host of reasons. Then again, in the past few years, there's been quite a few prospects who have been exposed a bit in college and fallen down the draft board and potentially lost money by being forced to go to college. If the success rate is very low, perhaps one could argue getting money and falling out of the league is better than getting less or no money and falling out of the league just the same. Anyways, there's several different frames to look at the argument: 1) what's fair legally/economically 2)what's good for players as players 3) what's good for players in terms of financial impact 4) what's good for players as young men.

John Pritchett 7 years, 7 months ago

I'm not going to say if it would be better or worse, but what we know as college athletics will cease to exist if we start to pay the players. I happen to like college sports and I don't believe you can retain what I find most appealing about it while changing it from amateur to professional. Everything that's wrong with college athletics stems from the influence of big money. Fixing it would be getting big money out of it, not making sure the players share in the money.

Harlan Hobbs 7 years, 7 months ago

Especially like the insights from Joe and Brett, even though they may come at this issue from different angles. One thing is for certain in my opinion. The NCAA is not going to implement any rule that they think will generate a ton of lawsuits under the principle of "restraint of trade".

Sports history (as far back as the Curt Flood case which broke the free agency barrier in baseball) is replete with examples of decisions being made in favor of the athlete. I totally agree that most "one and dones" haven't panned out like they thought they would, and certainly going straight to the NBA from high school has only a few success stories.

However, if a kid is good enough to play in the NBA in the opinion of the scouts, etc., keeping him from achieving his dreams and millions of dollars just won't wash. For now, the 19 years old rule doesn't seem to be ruffling too many feathers, so I will be surprised if any significant changes are in the near offing. Nevertheless, I am intrigued by Joe's suggestion about a 2 year mandatory period in college with the opportunity to seek an exception after the first year.

Take KU's current situation for example. The two players who fall into this discussion are Kelly Oubre, Jr. and Cliff Alexander (his current situation notwithstanding). In my opinion, their performances this year have not consistently risen to the level that they would be good candidates for an exception. However, a lot would depend on what the NBA scouts say. Furthermore, if a player is denied an exception, the odds of him deciding to play in Europe for a year to make money may be more attractive than staying in college for a second year.

The bottom line to me is that, if the best evaluators of talent project a player as a first round draft choice, then denying the player the opportunity to declare for the draft is a lawsuit waiting to happen.

No doubt this is a major dilemma, so I truly respect all of the opinions that are expressed. Hopefully, some common sense solutions can be found, but I am not too optimistic.

Tyler Capone 7 years, 7 months ago

lol looks like Illinois dodged a bullet on Cliff

Joe Joseph 7 years, 7 months ago

Illinois is 18-11 overall and 8-8 in the Big Ten. Currently, they're outside of Joe Lunardi's bracket.

Hard to say they dodged a bullet.

Kyle Sybesma 7 years, 7 months ago

My biggest question is WHEN did this violation take place? If it was before the season then the NCAA looks foolish (as usual). They had time to review everything before the season and if they missed it then that's on them.

The NCAA is worse than government when it comes to investigating others. They drag their feet when it comes to their precious student athlete but when Miami sues the NCAA over corrupt investigating THEN and ONLY THEN does the NCAA speed up their process and conlcude it in a timeley manor.

I for one can't wait for the SEC to lead the way out of the NCAA.

Robert Brown 7 years, 7 months ago

Maybe there is some benefit in making freshmen ineligible which the Big 10 is exploring. That would eliminate the one and dones forcing them to play in the D league or Europe or figuring out how to stay in high school until the age of 19.

Jonathan Allison 7 years, 7 months ago

it's pretty common for a lot of HS players to take an extra year of prep school after they graduate HS. I'm not sure how this works with regard to HS eligibility, etc. But isn't this what Mason did, seems like Graham did it, too. The twins went the prep school route. Brady Morningstar played a year of prep school.

Can anyone explain the prep school path works in regard to HS eligibility?

Jim Carter 7 years, 6 months ago

Hey there, I know this is an old thread, but just saw it and can add my two cents worth regarding prep school. My son went to a prep school in Maine last year for a fifth year. They call it a "post-grad" year or PG for short (kind of confusing with Point Guard also called PG). To attend a PG year, you HAVE to graduate successfully from high school before you can attend. The PG year has nothing to do with HS eligibility and does not count against college eligibility either, thus it is the route of choice for late bloomers who didn't get interest from colleges during their HS careers. You are correct, Brady Morningstar did just that.

I believe that a couple players you mentioned went to a prep school instead of their local HS during one or more of their HS years (Andrew Wiggins too). In that case, yes, playing at a prep school is in fact your HS eligibility, as you are taking HS classes and that is where your HS transcript would be issued upon graduation. The stud players that don't need the PG year would leave the prep school after graduation.

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