Scott Phillips/NBC Sports

Elite 2014 forward Cliff Alexander shines in the EYBL

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FRISCO, Tx. — Despite his lofty top-5 ranking, Cliff Alexander might be slighty underrated. While Alexander is the No. 5 player in the 2014 class — according to Rivals — he doesn’t command the media attention and exposure as some of the other top players in the class. Cliff is not a career EYBL player and has only joined the Nike traveling circuit full-time this season after a few EYBL events with the Mac Irvin Fire last year. This year, the 6-9 power forward from Curie High School  has enjoyed running in the EYBL with the Mac Irvin Fire and is starting to get more national attention after a few strong weekends.

“It’s a great experience,” Alexander said of the EYBL. “It’s great competition that pushes me to get better and you have to come out here with great expectations and come out to win.”

The first two weekends of the EYBL, Alexander averaged 14.6 points, 12 rebounds, and 1.7 blocks per game on 60% shooting from the field without the help of the No. 1 player in the class, center Jahlil Okafor.

This weekend, Okafor and Alexander played together for the first time in the EYBL this season and the results were at times devestating. Cliff enjoyed how the new twin towers played together.

“It’s great, teams double (Jahlil) and they forget about me and I can get my shine on,” Alexander said with a smile. “He’s a true center and I’m a power forward. I get all of his misses; everything he misses I go and get.”

Cliff also acknowledged that he enjoys playing with Okafor so much that he’s discussed playing with the Whitney Young center in college. Also in the disscussion for that package deal according to Cliff: the nation’s No. 2 point guard, Tyus Jones.

“Yeah, me, Jahlil and Tyus have talked about it,” Alexander said of a package deal. “There aren’t any schools in particular we’re all looking at together.”

Alexander is still pretty early in the recruiting process and he doesn’t have any upcoming visits. Cliff listed scholarship offers from Indiana, Florida, Florida State, Louisville, Michigan, Michigan State, Illinois, DePaul, Baylor, Arizona, and Memphis to NBC Sports.

“Everybody has been recruiting me the same,” Alexander said. “I’m just looking for a school that has a great relationship with my parents, a school that gets out and runs and me and the coaches have to see eye-to-eye.”

Scott also writes for NY2LA Sports and can be followed on Twitter @sphillipshoops

Utah lands top-75 center Jayce Johnson

Larry Krystkowiak
AP Photo
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Utah picked up its center of the future on Monday as four-star center Jayce Johnson pledged to the Runnin’ Utes, a source confirmed to The 7-foot Johnson recently cut his list to Cal, Colorado and Utah with the possibility of reclassifying to the Class of 2015.

Regarded as the No. 67 overall prospect in the Class of 2016, Johnson will look to attend Utah in December as a walk-on who will redshirt. While Johnson likely won’t play this season, he does give head coach Larry Krystkowiak another big man to use in practice to go against sophomore center Jakob Poeltl. A solid long-term prospect, Johnson has a good frame to add weight and he’s also skilled finishing with both hands. Utah now has its replacement for Poeltl if he opts to leave for the NBA after the season and he gets an extra semester to work with the program.

Johnson is coming off of his official visit to Utah this weekend as he joins junior college guard Jojo Zamora in the Class of 2016.


PHOTO: South Carolina gets new uniforms

Frank Martin
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South Carolina debuted some new uniforms early this week as the school is going with a fresh look and three color ways.

They’re also going to with the “Carolina” branding this season, but I think these new uniforms look pretty cool.