The recruitment of Cliff Alexander is going to end in roughly 4 days time, and things are certainly looking promising from an Illini fans perspective. When I wrote about this recruitment previously, the 247 Crystal Ball showed that Kansas was an 84% lock to secure a commitment from Big Cliff. My how times have changed.
Since Alexander’s official visit to Illinois back on October 26th, insiders have been slowly changing their guesses as to where the big man will end up.
As it currently stands, Illinois is now showing as a 53% favorite to Kansas’ 42% to secure Alexander’s commitment. It’s truly a toss up at this point, but Illini Hoops Heads are wishing for the best when Alexander makes his commitment live on ESPNU Friday between 3 and 4 pm.
A must see video is circulating today that shows exactly what Cliff Alexander is all about on the basketball court, and now that I have had a chance to watch it I can honestly say that I am even more excited that this young man may end up in the Orange and Blue. It’s very apparent that Alexander is more than just an inside force capable of throwing down thunderous dunks and rejecting opposition shots.
As you are watching the video you will see that Alexander also possesses a very deft touch from behind the 3 point arc. It only happens a couple of times in the video, and you have to be paying attention to catch it, but the brief glimpses are enough to see that Alexander is more than a monster on the inside. He has touch, and is not hesitant to put up the shot when given the chance.
Aside from his briefly displayed shooting touch, you’ll see the explosiveness and rebounding skill that has all of Illini Nation drooling.
So, how big of a difference maker can Cliff Alexander be if he chooses to come to Illinois?
Michael O’Brien of the Chicago Sun Times (@michaelsobrien) tweeted out quite the quote from Simeon Head Coach Robert Smith earlier today: “If Illinois could get Cliff (Alexander) and a Charles Matthews I could see them winning a national championship.”
Those are definitely some very strong words from the Simeon head coach, and will only serve to fuel the fires already burning within the entire Illini fan base. It’s a fire that will continue to burn white hot right up until Friday afternoon.
With statements like the one above, I know that Friday seems like an eternity from now, but it will be here before you know it.
We are down to the stretch run, and it’s a four team race to the finish line. When ESPNU shows Alexander making his selection there should be a hat on the table representing each of the four schools left: Illinois, Kansas, Depaul, and Memphis.
It’s nice to be in the Final Four for such a prized prospect, but the real question is simple.
Which hat will be sitting atop Cliff Alexander’s head while the rest are still sitting on the table?
Illinois fans have nothing left to do but wait and hold out hope that it contains some orange, and if it does, then Illini fans everywhere can begin high-fiving each other over yet another John Groce triumph.
You can Follow Ryan on Twitter @RPKraemer