Chicago Colleges: Kansas Jayhawks

Curie's Alexander doesn't wait, signs with Kansas

November, 16, 2013
Chicago Curie senior power forward Cliff Alexander signed and faxed his letter of intent to Kansas on Saturday, according to a source.

Alexander, ESPN’s No. 3-ranked senior prospect, verbally committed to the Jayhawks over DePaul, Illinois and Memphis on ESPNU on Friday, but he said he likely wouldn’t sign with the school until January.

Alexander said Friday that his decision came down to Kansas coach Bill Self and his ability to develop big men.

“It was really tough, really tough,” Alexander said of his decision. “Me and my family did a lot of talking, a lot of thinking. We came down to a conclusion. Coach Self is a great guy. He develops players. I like how he coaches. I like how he gets the ball to the bigs, develop the bigs.”

Alexander joined forward Kelly Oubre, who is ranked No. 10 by ESPN, in Kansas’ recruiting class. Oubre has also signed his letter of intent.

Recruiting door open despite Alexander commitment

November, 15, 2013
CHICAGO – Cliff Alexander may go to Kansas … or he may not.

Alexander, ESPN’s No. 3-ranked recruit, took a step in the direction of Lawrence, Kan. on Friday by announcing on ESPNU he was committing to the Jayhawks. That’s enough to complete most recruitments. But in this case, it’s difficult to believe Alexander’s recruitment is a done deal.

For one, Alexander doesn’t plan on signing a letter of intent during the early-signing period. He said Friday he might sign in January, but he wasn’t exactly sure.

Then, there’s the fact Alexander hadn’t even decided on a school until about an hour before his announcement. He had known for a few weeks he was going on live television and naming a school Friday, and that would normally indicate someone who had made up his mind and was ready to put his recruitment to rest. But with Alexander, he was still taking recruiting pitches from coaches as late as Friday morning.

“People just don’t know; this thing came down to the last hour,” Curie coach Mike Oliver said. “As far as 2 p.m., he was still deciding between Illinois, DePaul and Kansas. His gut feeling was Kansas.”

Gut feelings, especially those of teenagers, can change quickly. Even Alexander seemed unsure minutes after his announcement whether he was a solid Kansas commitment.

Alexander was asked whether there was a chance he could change his mind. Alexander replied, “There might be a chance; there might."

A reporter followed up and asked, “So there’s a chance you could still end up at Illinois?” Alexander replied, “No.”

Another reporter jumped in and asked, “What would make you change your mind?” Alexander was quick to cover up his tracks and said, “Nothing really. I’m set. I’m set. I want to go to Kansas. That’s why I did it.”

Even if Alexander meant that, his recruitment is still far from over. The schools involved in his final list and possibly others will continue to recruit Alexander until he stops answering their calls or he’s secured with Kansas. The Jayhawks know that, too. They’ll continue to recruit him as he is he wasn’t already committed.

Alexander has also yet to qualify. Oliver said recently he fully expected Alexander to get the necessary test score and grades to qualify, but that's another part of the equation.

In the end, Alexander may decommit from Kansas, commit to Illinois, then decommit from Illinois and finally sign with DePaul. Or, he might just remain Kansas recruit.

Until it's officially over, uncertainty will reign.

Kansas lets yet another win slip away

September, 22, 2012

Kansas doesn't need anyone to tell it that life is about to get a whole lot more difficult.

Still, Saturday served as a reminder that this Kansas team isn't ready to win close games. Playing with leads still seems wholly unfamiliar to the Jayhawks after a 30-23 loss on the road. Kansas now has a road losing streak of 15, dating back to a win at UTEP on Sept. 12, 2009.

For the second time in three weeks, Kansas had the game well within its grasp. It led Rice by double digits in the third quarter on Sept. 8 and led by eight with five minutes to play. It lost on a last second field goal.

On Saturday, Tyler Patmon's 54-yard interception return for a touchdown gave the Jayhawks a 23-13 lead. Don't give up the big play, right? Make Northern Illinois grind this one out and keep the Huskies in front of you?

Nope. Northern Illinois scored on its first play of the ensuing drive when Martel Moore caught a Jordan Lynch pass for a 65-yard score to get the game back within reach for the Huskies.

In the game's final 14:23, Kansas was outscored 17-0 and now returns home to Lawrence with a 1-3 record that could very easily be 3-1. It's not, and it's another black eye for Charlie Weis in his hopes to re-ignite the Kansas program.

After the Rice loss, Weis said at some point teams figure out how to win. They turn a corner. It's easy to see that hasn't happened yet for KU. Same story, different opponent.

Dayne Crist continues to underwhelm, too, which has to be a concern. Competition is about to ramp up considerably now that nonconference play is over and Crist completed just 10 of 26 passes for 147 yards. That's only 38 percent.

He's completing just 48 percent of his passes on the year, and with just one win (against an FCS team, no less) under its belt, it's now an uphill battle for KU to simply equal its two wins from a year ago.

Can Kansas figure out how to turn that corner? Right now, the Jayhawks look like they have a long way to go before any corners get turned in Lawrence.

Northern Illinois isn't a bad team, but it's not a team that's significantly better than Kansas. The rest of the Big 12? It's nine teams that are significantly better than Kansas.

I don't know how many days are left until basketball season starts, but KU fans might want to start checking their calendars.