Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Cliff Alexander Has Four Officials Set, Fifth Up in the Air
NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. — Cliff Alexander and his Mac Irvin Fire teammates suffered a tough morning loss here to Boo Williams at the Peach Jam, but that didn’t stop the 6-foot-10 Alexander from talking about his college plans afterward.
Alexander confirmed he has four official visits planned and is still deciding on the fifth.
“I haven’t really thought about it yet,” he said after going for 15 points, 9 rebounds and 2 blocks in Mac Irvin’s 60-57 loss to Boo Williams.
He will take official visits to Arizona (end of September), Kansas (Oct. 4), Memphis (Oct. 18) and Louisville (undecided).
He is also considering Kentucky, Michigan State, DePaul, Illinois, Indiana and Baylor. Most, if not all, of the above schools were represented at Thursday’s game.
As for his timetable, he said, “I’m not committing no time soon. I don’t know when I will commit.”
Alexander reiterated that he likely won’t take officials to Kentucky or Michigan State — two of his perceived leaders — because he’s already been there unofficially with his parents.
“No, because I’ve visited those already,” he said.
Later he added: “There’s a chance they could get it. I’m still thinking.”
But he pointed out that Kentucky and Michigan State are still very much in the mix and haven’t dropped down.
“Not at all, not at all, not at all, I still love them,” he said. “They’re still recruiting me hard, especially Michigan State. I love ’em.”
Louisville also remains a possible destination.
“Me and Coach [Rick] Pitino have built a great relationship throughout my recruitment,” he said. “He’s a great guy, I love him. I talk to Coach [Kevin] Keatts every now and then.”
He added: “They said they’re willing to play me at the four and we can win a national championship.”
He said Louisville commit 2014 JaQuan Lyle is in his ear about joining the Cardinals.
“Yeah, JaQuan is always bugging me about trying to commit,” he said. “I just tell him just be patient.”
He added: “I really don’t know much about Louisville, I just know that a guy from Chicago played there, Wayne Blackshear.”
Illinois head coach John Groce was courtside and Alexander said he “might” take an official there as well.
Kansas is also a consideration, especially since Bill Self’s program has sent a number of big men like the Morris twins and Jeff Withey to the NBA.
“Yeah, that really does, how they get big guys to the league,” he said.
He recently took an unofficial there but wants his parents to see the campus on an official.
“I have a lot of interest in Kansas and I want to get down there and show my parents,” he said.
“I built a great relationship with Coach Self and the coaching staff. Great campus, great dorms.”
Alexander’s Mac Irvin teammate, Jahlil Okafor,is planning on attending college with Minnesota point guard Tyus Jones, who is also here.
One D-1 assistant told SNY.tv that Jones was like the “Pied Piper” because other top players want to follow him and play with him.
Is Alexander one of those players?
“I talk to Jahlil and Tyus about it sometimes but not really,” he said.
Still, he knows what a potent force those two could be in college.
“They’ll be scary,” he said. “They’ll have a chance to win a national championship.”
Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.