Kansas missed out on Jalil Okafor and Tyus Jones on Friday afternoon, but the Jayhawks landed themselves a pretty solid consolation prize: Cliff Alexander.
Alexander is the No. 4 player in the Class of 2014. A 6-foot-8 power forward, Alexander is athletic, a strong and powerful kid with long arms that physically abuses the rim when he dunks and attacks the glass unlike anyone else in class.
Alexander is a Chicago native and picked the Jayhawks over both DePaul and Illinois. Memphis was still on Alexander’s list when he made his decision, but there wasn’t much momentum for the Tigers in the final weeks of his recruitment.
And, in this video making the rounds, Illinois fans got a tease when Alexander reached for an Illini hat at first, before realizing he actually hadn’t grabbed a KU hat.
Alexander will join 6-foot-7 Kelly Oubre, a Houston native, in the Jayhawk’s 2014 recruiting haul, which should be enough to keep Kansas in the national title discussion heading into the 2014-2015 season, particularly is they get two of Wayne Selden, Perry Ellis and Joel Embiid back.
Ironically enough, Bill Self probably shouldn’t get all of the credit for landing Alexander. Neither should any of his assistants. You see, Alexander’s girlfriend is Caelynn Manning-Allen. Manning-Allen is a freshman on the Kansas women’s team this season. I wonder just how much of a role that played in Alexander’s decision, but it certainly couldn’t have hurt the Jayhawk’s chances.
Here Eric Bossi, a Rivals recruiting analyst, with a breakdown of Alexander: “Alexander is a physically intimidating power player. He uses his strength, long arms and attacking nature to go right at the rim. He can make jump hooks and is developing touch to eight feet. Perhaps his biggest strength is his rebounding. Alexander grabs rebound above the rim and often snatches them away from opponents.”
Former Wichita State assistant returns as a consultant
Prior to a one-year stint as the head coach coach at Bowling Green that came to an end in early April as a result of an incident at a Bowling Green restaurant, Chris Jans was a member of Gregg Marshall’s coaching staff at Wichita State from 2007-14. During those seven seasons Jans was a key figure as the Shockers made the progression to a respected national power.
Jans is back in Wichita, with Paul Suellentrop of the Wichita Eagle reporting Thursday that he’s serving as a consultant to the program. Jans’ consulting agreement runs for 45 days, which the school can renew, and he’ll be paid $10,000 for the work. While Jans isn’t allowed to do any coaching, he can watch practices and provide Marshall and the coaching staff with his observations.
“He will be able to consult with the coaching staff, only on what he observes in practice,” said Darron Boatright, WSU deputy athletics director. “By NCAA rule, a consultant is not allowed to have communication with student-athletes … not about basketball-related activities or performance.”
While Jans (who according to the story has served in a similar role for another school) can’t do any coaching in this role, his return does give Marshall another trusted voice to call upon when needed. Wichita State bid farewell to an assistant coach this spring with Steve Forbes being hired as the head coach at East Tennessee State, with his position being filled by former Sunrise Christian Academy coach Kyle Lindsted.
Thursday afternoon marked the first time since Friday that Louisville head coach Rick Pitino commented on the controversy that has taken his program by storm. Speaking with Terry Meiners of 840 WHAS in Louisville, Pitino discussed the escort scandal, what could have possibly led former staffer Andre McGee down the path he’s alleged to have taken in Katina Powell’s book and his future at Louisville.
The interview began with Meiners asking Pitino if it changed his thinking as to whether or not he needed to resign, which (as one would expect) Pitino shot down. Also discussed was the statement released by school president Dr. James Ramsey, which expressed support for athletic director Tom Jurich but did not mention Pitino at all.
“Well I can’t answer that, Terry,” Pitino said when asked why he wasn’t mentioned in the statement. “Twenty-six years ago Kentucky brought me in to make the program compliant to NCAA rules. (Then-Kentucky president) Dr. (David) Roselle and (then Kentucky athletic director) C.M. Newton thought I was the guy to come in and change around the images, change around the culture and add a lot of discipline to the program. And I did that.
“And then I came here to the University of Louisville, and if someone was five seconds late or not early consequences would be paid from a disciplinary standpoint,” Pitino continued. “This is obviously not a person being late, this is not about a person (not) working hard. This is about things that are very disgusting, things that turn my stomach, things that keep me up without sleeping.
“But unfortunately, I had no knowledge of any of this and don’t believe in it. It’s sickening to me, the whole thing. But I’m thinking of my 13 players, I’m thinking of our program, and I’m sorry that Dr. Ramsey did not think enough to mention me but that’s something I cannot control.”
Below is audio of the full interview, which ran just over 17 minutes in length.