Cliff Alexander is the star freshman expected to fill the void in the Kansas lineup left by the likes of Joel Embiid and Andrew Wiggins, and in his first action on the Phog Allen Fieldhouse floor on Monday night, Alexander looked up to the task.
He finished with 14 points, nine boards and three blocks in just 17 minutes as the Jayhawks knocked off Washburn, a Division II program, 85-53. Those numbers aren’t exactly a surprise. Alexander is an overpowering athlete who size, strength and ability around the rim will allow him to dominate lesser competition, and D-II front lines are lesser competition. It’s a promising start, but not one that was totally unexpected. The question marks surrounding Alexander have to deal with how he adjusts to playing defenders with his physical tools.
Frank Mason added 13 points, seven assists and six boards for the Jayhawks, but perhaps more importantly, Mason starting for the Jayhawks on Monday. Freshman point guard Devonte’ Graham did as well, finishing with seven points, three assists and three turnovers in 23 minutes, and he was the only freshman that started. Alexander came off the bench, as did wing Kelly Oubre.
Perhaps the most noteworthy bit of news came from the injury suffered by Brannen Greene. The sophomore sharpshooter was blindsided by a screen and suffered a concussion. He could miss a few days of practice.