Cliff Alexander Height Alert?

  • @wrwlumpy posted this marvelous Instagram image of the team with President Obama on another thread. But as I was luxuriating in the effects applied to the photo, and to the joy of seeing Mr. President, coaches and players looking so authentically happy, my eye caught on the relative heights of Perry Ellis standing slightly behind Cliff. One would expect the camera effect to make Cliff look a bit taller than he actually is. The picture suggests Cliff is quite a bit shorter than Perry. We don’t know the shoes they are wearing, so it is hardly a conclusive indicator of relative heights. The picture also suggests that Cliff is about the height of Jamari Traylor. There has been quite a bit of discussion the last few years that Perry’s and Jamari’s heights are somewhat overstated in what has come to be called by some “KU inches.” Either Perry has grown quite a bit, or Cliff is rather shorter than we might have expected. Perry has often been speculated to 6-7 and Jamari 6-6, or 6-7, despite their listed heights being taller.

    Another interesting height issue to note is Kelly Oubre’s apparent height. He is listed at 6-7, if I recall correctly. But he is sharply shorter than Jamari Traylor and Cliff Alexander in this picture. If Cliff and Jamari were in fact an inch, or two, shorter than their listed heights, this could mean Kelly were substantially shorter under his impressive hair do than his listed 6-7. Kelly looks maybe 4-6 inches shorter than Hunter Mickelson beside him and 2-4 inches shorter than Jamari. Hair cuts make it a bit difficult to say more accurately. While there does seem to be some curvature to the lines, Perry and Cliff and Jamari appear close enough that the curvature may contribute little distortion.

    I am pointing out nothing conclusive here about either player, but rather suggesting that there is something to watch for in games, where everyone is wearing the same shoes, to see if we have an even shorter team than we thought.


  • Svi certainly looks tall! I think this is a combination of perspective and shoes. As I look at the shoes I see all manner of sneakers, dress shoes, boots, etc. Not saying your wrong. Cliff certainly has not looked “tall” at any point this year no matter who we play or what shoes he is wearing. (He would look quite tall standing next to me!)

  • @jaybate-1.0

    We all should stay on a “height alert” on any posted heights of Jayhawks, because we’ve all been hoodwinked before.

    Having said that… I’ve learned to discount things like photos as an indication of height. Some guys slouch, or lean forward… and camera angles often create distortions.

    It would be great if someday at a public interview event someone would bring something to measure our guys and then ask if they would do it. My guess… it would be prohibited from occurring.

    I am of the belief that actual player heights are a big time secret.

    BTW: the only accurate method is SHOES OFF!

  • I can’t tell who is taller, Tyler or BarackChalk.

  • I always thought Obama was taller. Probably because of this photo.


  • Height in basketball is the most lied about measurement in all sports. HSs lie, Colleges lie, the NCCA lies, the NBA lies…they all do.

    Here is an interesting article with quotes from one of the more height-hyped player of all time, Charles Barkley.

    In reading about the subject, the consensus seems to be that the biggest exaggerator in college basketball is Duke.

  • @JayHawkFanToo

    Good read. Thx. OMG! What if Jay Bilas is only 6-3!!

  • Jamari seemed way taller than Cliff to me after UT game.

  • @JayHawkFanToo Soooo I’m actually 6’3" or taller? Dang I thought I was too short to play D1!!

  • @Kubie

    In KU inches, you would be listed at 6-8. All persons under 5-11 are listed at 5-11 to 6-2.

    All persons between 6-2 and 6-6 are listed at 6-8.

    All persons between 6-6 and 6-8 are listed at 6-10 to 7-0.

    There are not real footers.

    Wilt was 6-8. 🙂

  • @jaybate-1.0 “this could mean Kelly is substantially shorter”. Hair height counts when you have a wing span like Kelly Oubre.

  • Since players cannot really score with the head (like they do in soccer); height at the top of the head is not nearly as important as shoulder height and wing span since these are the two measurement that affect reach the most. Having said that, jumping ability, position awareness…and a big rear end like Barkley have a bigger effect.

  • @Kubie

    I don’t know how tall you are, but as Jayhawk fan, you stand tall wherever you are…

  • Ed Nealy was the perfect example of how a big butt can keep you in the NBA for over ten years. That K-Stater could set a pick better than anyone I’ve ever seen play.

  • @JayHawkFanToo

    I totally agree with you here.

    There are certain morphologies better suited to basketball.

    You want to be as tall as you can be to the shoulders, which means long necked guys play short.

    Kelly has a fairly long neck, so his shoulders are not as high as some.

    Kelly also lacks the butt.

    Another very desirable feature, if powerfully muscled is long legs and short torso. Kelly’s legs do not look particularly long, relative to his torso, but I have a hunch that they must be, because he can really go by folks on the way to the iron.

    Another feature Self tends to recruit is very broad shoulders, whether they are heavily muscled or not. Broad shoulders add to your wing span. Kelly’s shoulders are not particularly broad.

    Desirable features to go with broad shoulders are long arms and long hands and long fingers. Kelly has super long arms and decent sized hands and fingers.

    Wing span is really shoulder width from centerline to shoulder plus arm length plus hand length plus finger length.

    Contrast Kelly to Perry.

    Perry appears to have broader shoulders. His arms seem reasonably long. But what really short changes Perry are his small hands and fingers.

    As we move into the X-Axis stuff, as slayr likes to call it, the short torso and long legged player really has an age over anyone guarding him with long torso and short legs. Wooden always talked about seeking the long legged and short torso-ed player. Keith Wilkes was his ideal in this regard. Perry is incredibly fast driving across court on most anyone he comes up against because he has long legs and a slightly short torso.

    I haven’t looked closely at Kelly, but, as I said above, I suspect he has a fairly short torso and fairly long legs. When I played, I had long legs and short torso. It was amazing how easy it was to get by guys with short legs and long torsos.

    Getting onto the Y-axis, that gets into muscle mass, in thighs and calves, and elasticity of tendons and ligaments. It also involves back muscles and arm muscles and ones ability to use back and arms to throw your upper body into upward motion at the same time thighs and legs explode. Self likes the guys with powerful upper bodies because of the throw strength upwards, and for the pull down power. Explosive leg muscles and elastic tendons and ligaments seem to be found on almost any morphology. But I do believe that great jumpers tend to be a bit longer legged and a bit shorter torso-ed. I haven’t studied the kinesiology on this, but there has to be some kind of skeletal morphological contribution to hops.

    I also experienced that jumping pigeon toed in any no, or one, step jump, would add at least two inches to my elevation, and when I taught it to other players they all adopted it. I was not naturally pigeon toed. I had to practice it and build up my muscles and train myself to running and jumping pigeon toed. It was the single best change I ever made in my musculature and footwork. I got the idea from studying the best athlete at my high school during summer work outs and pickup games. Being pigeon toed is such a great advantage in sports that if I were a coach I would constantly select toward the feature, and train the gifted non pigeon toed guys to get pigeon toed.

    Pidgeon toes are also better for changing directions on the run on the X-axis, and they are better for drop stepping. I think they offer pluses and minuses to sliding.

    There are a few exceptions to all of the above and it usually involves players with extraordinary shooting, or rebounding skills that cannot be taught. Guys that that have extraordinary skills have to be developed.

    Brannen Greene’s legs and feet are just nightmares. But he is a rare great shooter. So the legs and feet have to be worked with and developed so you can get his shot on the court. If I had Brannen for next summer in my gym, he would come back to Ku next season as pigeon toed as I could possibly make him.

  • I’ve seen a few KU players around the streets of Lawrence over the years and they are not the majestic human specimens they appear to be on TV or even watching in AFH. Ostertag was actually big in real life. Withey… uh, no. The Morrii twins… not really that imposing. T-Rob was not a superman.

    But then again, I wasn’t trying to shoot over any of them. 🙂

    Keep in mind that your average walmart shopper man or woman probably outweighs most of the football players.

  • @DanR said:

    Keep in mind that your average walmart shopper man or woman probably outweighs most of the football players.


  • This is the most bizarre picture I’ve seen in college bball. They don’t look quite right. They seem to be imposed on a black and white…where’s the color version?

    Also, I do believe Mason has on a pair of Army ABUs. He did after all attend a military academy? Look very closely and you can see the pattern. It looks cool all the same.

    What’s up with Greene on the end? It’s just down right strange.

    It looks better upon each review. The heights look about right…Perry may have been asked to tip toe just a bit over the front row. They look fairly symmetrical. I guess it’s not too strange.

    Thanks for posting.

  • I was walking in the old Wal Mart in Lawrence. I noticed the tops of two heads visible over the top of the shelves from the next aisle. I ran over there thinking only ku basketballers are that tall. Indeed it was Danny and some other guy I forget. That’s tall.

  • @wissoxfan83

    Here is a strange one… I was walking around in Spencer’s… you know… the gag gift place in every mall, and I turned a corner and there stand Patrick Ewing. Man… he was big! He had a full length black leather jacket on and I swear it must have taken two cows to make his coat!

    The whole situation caught me off guard, so I was almost speechless… so I played the typical silly fan role and just gave him some compliments for giving me years of quality basketball viewing. I kind of left off the part about him not ever winning a NBA championship. Man… the dude was every bit a footer!

  • @JayHawkFanToo

    “and a big rear end like Barkley have a bigger effect.”

    Player size formula:

    Height + Wingspan + Butt Protrusion = Player Size

    I wonder if we can patent that formula? If it gets famous and used, we get a royalty each time!

    Turns out that Charles Barkley’s actual player size equals Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

    I’ll never forget Barkley in the low post, back to the basket, and how he would protrude his butt out and that would push back a defender a few more inches… creating enough scoring space for his fade away jumper!

    I really miss the “golden years” of the NBA… no one had a skyhook like Jabbar!

  • I wonder if this has anything to do with the height discrepancies?


  • @drgnslayr I had the same experience a couple of weeks ago bumping into Shaq. Massive, I shook his hand and my smallish hands disappeared in his like a baby’s does in an adults hand.

    By the way, where did you get those shoes?!!

  • @wissoxfan83

    I got those shoes off of Google Image Search… where all great photos come from!

    That photo makes me wonder… what are the restrictions for shoe height in D1 and the NBA?

    I’m thinking I have a new career as the next great shot blocker in the NBA, with my 4-ft platforms!

  • @jaybate-1.0 Huh, interesting. I think Oubre might be wearing flip flops and Perry is standing on his toes.

  • @jaybate-1.0 Seriously? Wilt wasn’t a true footer?

  • @DanR Dude, I saw T Rob on the side streets of Lawrence, I walked up to him and said hi. He is a beast. Not tall like 6"10" + but still, he is a big guy.

  • @DanR Ditto what Jaybate said. PHOF!

  • @jaybate-1.0

    In looking at the picture , you can tell it was taken from not too far away and with wide angle lens (20mm?) and wide angles lenses are known for distorting the edges when using them close by making the center portion larger and the edges smaller; camera lenses are round and convex after all. For an extreme effect try taking a photo of face (portrait) with a wide angle from a close distance and you will see a huge center portion (nose) and disproportionally small ears; this is why professional portrait photographers will step back and use a zoom lens (70mm is the favorite) so they can take an undistorted photo.

    In the photo you can see the subtle effects of the distortion by looking at the cornice at the top of the picture. We know that in reality it is perfectly straight and level but in the picture you can see it curved with the sides sloping down in relation to the center, particularly on the right side which indicates that camera was not perfectly level either. Had the picture been taken from farther away and with level camera, the cornice would look perfectly straight and level. Hopefully it explain why players in the center look a little taller than those toward the edges., particularly those on the right side.

  • @JayHawkFanToo

    You are a knowledgeable basketball fan… is there a rule on how much rubber can exist between the floor and the bottoms of players’ feet?

  • @drgnslayr

    I am not sure if there is a rule but I imagine the shoe companies use it for marketing purposes. A few years ago, a couple of guys patented a basketball shoe with a buil-in “spring” that supposedly increased vertical jumping abut the NBA banned it; best think that happened to them since sales sky rocketed.

  • @JayHawkFanToo

    Seems like it would be easy to create more spring with some of those air sole designs. Make the sides with stretching rubber that would push out on compression and bounce back harder. That wouldn’t require a spring.

    I’m trying to imagine some silly willy NBA staffer running scientific tests on shoe materials…

  • @drgnslayr

    Spring is just a generic term and not necessarily the “coil” we commonly associate with the term spring. It could be just an expandable/compressible material such as rubber, an air cushion, a bendable metal slat or a combination…

  • @JayHawkFanToo

    Thanks for the assessment. I will sleep a bit better.

    I wonder if this means that Perry is really long!

Log in to reply