Kansas freshman forward Cliff Alexander has experienced the highs and lows that most newcomers have to deal with in college basketball, but his season took a significant turn February 28. Alexander was sidelined as a result of the NCAA looking into an issue that could compromise his eligibility, but not much was offered up by Kansas as to what the NCAA is looking into.
Late Thursday, Pat Forde of Yahoo Sports reported that the NCAA is looking into the possibility that one or more of Alexander’s family members received impermissible benefits from an agent. Alexander has missed the last two games for the Jayhawks, and it’s likely that Alexander be forced to play the role of spectator Saturday when the Jayhawks visit No. 15 Oklahoma because of the “speed” at which the investigation is moving.
Alexander has not yet been interviewed by the NCAA, sources said, though not because of a reluctance by either the school or NCAA investigators. Sources said legal counsel has been retained by the Alexander family and that may be slowing the investigative process.
Kansas will also be without junior forward Perry Ellis, who suffered a sprained right knee in Tuesday’s overtime win over No. 20 West Virginia. Ellis will be re-evaluated next week, and the results will determine his status for the Big 12 tournament. Even with Alexander on the court reserves such as Landen Lucas and Jamari Traylor received opportunities to earn minutes, and in the win over West Virginia Hunter Mickelson was solid as well.
With there being no set time as to when Alexander will be able to return, those three become even more important for the Jayhawks as they look to play deep into March.