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Tuesday / February 28.
  • Cliff Alexander Enjoyed DePaul Visit, Says He’s ‘Wide Open’

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    Cliff Alexander won a championship on Sunday.

    The 6-foot-9 Chicago Curie center helped Team USA win the FIBA Americas 3×3 U18 Championship in Fort Washington, Md.

    “We won the championship game,” Alexander told by phone. “I played alright. I got a couple blocked shots. rebounded the ball. This is a warmup tournament before we go to Indonesia.”

    The third annual FIBA 3×3 U18 World Championship is expected to feature 24 women’s teams and 32 men’s teams from Sept. 27-29 in Jakarta, Indonesia, and the top teams will qualify for the 2014 Youth Olympic Games in Nanjing, China. 

    In addition to his Team USA commitments, Alexander is going through the recruiting process, having taken his first official visit to DePaul last weekend.

    “It was a great visit,” he said. “I had fun, enjoyed myself. I built a great relationship with the coaching staff.”

    Asked if DePaul was a realistic landing spot for him, Alexander said, “Yes. it’s home. I just could stay right there. It’s right down the street.”

    Alexander disputed the notion that Kansas is his leader.

    “Kansas is not a leader, I don’t have a leader right now,” he said.

    Still, he does like Kansas and will take an official there Oct. 4 for “Late Night in the Phog.”

    “I still like Kansas,” he said. “They develop their players. Coach [Bill] Self develops their players. My main man Jerrance [Howard] got the assistant job there. That’s my main man, he’s like a bigger brother to me.”

    Michigan State also remains strongly in the mix.

    “They develop their players, they developed Adreian Payne over the years,” Alexander said. “I like [Coach Tom] Izzo, he’s a great guy. I’ve been down there several times. I’ve developed a great relationship with those guys, hung out with those guys.”

    He will also take officials to Arizona, Louisville and Memphis, with Arizona next up Sept. 13 before he departs for Indonesia.

    Asked what he likes about them, he said, “Same thing. How they develop their players. Great coaching staff and that’s about it.”

    Kentucky also remains on his list, and he visited Rupp Arena for Big Blue Madness last year. Illinois and Indiana are also on his list.

    “I’m still open to everybody,” Alexander said. “I haven’t made up my mind where I’m going. That’s all I have to say.”

    Asked when he might commit, Alexander said, “Wintertime,” and added that it would likely be after the early signing period.

    Meantime, Draft Express projects Alexander as the No. 3 pick in the 2015 NBA Draft, behind fellow bigs Jahlil Okafor, who visited Baylor with Tyus Jones this weekend, and Myles Turner.

    Wherever he lands for college, USA coach Don Showalter said Alexander can be dominant.

    “Cliff is dominating play in the paint,” he said. “His jump hook is unstoppable and he is making shots from 12-15 feet. Terrific timing on blocking shots. He will continue to get better as his left hand develops. And he’s a great person.”

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    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 whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. 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.