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.