Interesting, sad Cliff read


    First player since someone from Tennessee in 04 to be a top 5 recruit to not get drafted.

    I really want to blame the adults who mismanaged this young man.

  • @wissoxfan83 I want to agree that it was his guardians faults, but that just isn’t really true. NBA teams have drafted players who have done a lot worse things. In all honesty, Cliff just really isn’t that good. He has horrible footwork. He isn’t good on defense. He has long arms, but you saw how many times he missed dunks. His vertical was nothing special. His basketball IQ isn’t there. The scouts all saw this. And that is why the NBA requires the OAD rule. So they can at least see what their investment looks like. And, thats why they are already talking about making it TAD when the next CBA comes up. Cliff will unfortunately become the poster child for why the NBA will always require at least the OAD rule.

  • @Kcmatt7

    But adults cost this young man a four year or even two year career at KU. I know there’s a lot of ifs, but let’s say he doesn’t get into eligibility troubles. So he finishes the year most likely still an enigma, stating that he wanted to stay at KU, which he did actually.

    He had no choice to enter the draft since his eligibility was used up, because of his guardian. Talent evaluators who hand out stars up to 5 are to blame for overrating him. I watched him play a HS game and frankly, didn’t see what the hype was about.

    But we all know what three and four years of elite coaching would have done for him. Did anyone consider Frank Kaminsky an NBA prospect after one year of college? So his handlers cost him the opportunity to do what college does for you, get ready for a career.

  • @wissoxfan83 I get that the choice was taken from him. It sucks. But, he never helped himself during any of it. Especially the predraft process. He got an injury during his LA workout that was speculated largely as faking because he was playing poorly. He didn’t show a lot of loyalty to KU or his coach. Which is a horrible sign for an NBA role player. He looked lazy on the court during games unless he got the opportunity to attempt a dunk. These are all things that HE did. No one else. Not his mom. Not someone who ranked him 5 stars.

    And don’t bring that weak Frank Kaminsky B.S. in here. That’s apples and oranges and you know it. Completely different skill-sets. Completely different stories. Your best argument would be T-Rob. But again, really completely different situations. Mentality-wise, those two on the court were night and day.

  • “And don’t bring that weak Frank Kaminsky B.S. in here.”

    Haha, that’s funny. And I agree with you, apples and oranges.

  • @Kcmatt7 said:

    In all honesty, Cliff just really isn’t that good. He has horrible footwork. He isn’t good on defense. He has long arms, but you saw how many times he missed dunks. His vertical was nothing special.

    That’s why I compared him to Frank Kaminsky which was written about him as a freshman. Lighten up dude.

  • @wissoxfan83 This is plenty chill, man. You’re comparing a 7-footer that can shoot 3s to a 6’8 bruiser.

  • @Kcmatt7 You leap in with an aggressive know-it-all attitude and you are bound to get picked apart on this site. I will start with this: how about Frank K’s success shooting 3s his freshman year?

  • Oh, come on. Kcmatt7 has a valid point. Comparing Kaminksy to Alexander…why bother?

    They both play basketball, and neither was drafted after his freshman year. The end.

    Other than that, it’d be hard to find two more unrelated players for comparison than unranked high school prospect, 4-year college player, Kaminsky, and top five HS prospect, 1-year college BUST, cliff alexander.

  • @JReyn

    Kaminsky was a collegiate success and Alexander was a collegiate bust. However, there’s probably a 25%-30% chance that Cliff has a better pro career than Frank if both guys stay healthy. There is a possibility that Frank turns into a 7-0 spot up shooter that is a below average defender, while Cliff turns into a starting caliber defender/ rebounder that can dunk and hit the 15 footer.

    Obviously, that isn’t the most likely scenario, but the pieces are in place for that to be a possibility.

  • @wissoxfan83 who was the '04 player from Tennessee? I know Scotty Hopson was ranked 5th in the class of '08 and didn’t get drafted after his junior year, but I can’t think of anyone who flamed out spectacularly before that. LOL Actually, plenty of NBA-promising Vols flamed out after that – like Tyler Smith with his gun and weed busted a few days before the UT walk-ons beat KU in 2010

  • The Kaminsky / Alexander situation is very interesting to me. Obviously the points above are all great and point out that they are apples and oranges. One guy is a 4 year player who is 7 feet tall and can shoot. One guy is an undersized great athlete who was and OAD and did not get drafted.

    The part that interests me so much is the rankings coming out of high school. For the most part the rankings are a great indicator of talent. Wiggins. Anthony Davis. Melo. These guys are all ranked at the top of their class and now they are studs in the NBA. Not a huge surprise. The big surprise to me is where guys are ranked and how much faith we all (myself included) put in these rankings. Big Cliff was ranked ahead of Karl Anthony Towns, Justice Winslow, Trey Lyles, D’Angelo Russell, etc. Crazy to think that is the case as all of those guys dominated college ball from the first tip. They never had the “still getting use to the speed of the game in college” moments that Alexander had or even Oubre. I just wonder why that is and what did the scouts miss? Or did they miss anything?

    KU has had some really high ranked guys come in and put up big numbers (Wiggs / BMac / JoJo) but we have certainly also had some guys come in who are not highly ranked and put up great stats as well…Devonte Graham and Frank Mason are good recent examples. And that is just KU. Other big programs have these low ranked kids come in and contribute. McBuckets was unranked. Kaminsky was unranked. Trey Burke was outside the top 100. Shabazz Napier was outside the top 100. Russ Smith was unranked. These are all first team All Americans. What did the scouts miss on them?

    I guess I am not questioning the rankings as much as I am saying that it is a crazy world out there and the ranking are just an indicator. Cliff made us all pretty sad by not producing much this year and most of our anger probably stems from the hype. When ESPN says you are the #4 player in the entire country you assume big things will happen. And then Cliff sits the bench, makes bone head plays, takes plays off, etc. I probably wouldn’t mind all of this so much if he was the #21 ranked player like Bragg is this year. For me my expectations for Bragg are not that high. I am sure he is a stud but because he is the #21 guy and not the #4 guy I feel like I have reason to expect growing pains…which is possibly silly. Bragg may come in and put up 12 and 8 from day 1.

  • @JReyn Yes Hopson from Tennessee according to the article I linked which I think stated he was a freshman in 2004.

    As for the Kaminsky comparison:

    See the portion of Kcmatt7’s comment that I quoted. That is what made me make the comparison to Kaminsky. I never stated they were the same player. I can guarantee after Frank’s freshman year that you would have said no way Frank was ready for the NBA just like you wrote Cliff is not ready for the NBA.

    This has been a very cordial site for the years it’s been up, so we don’t often see someone write what someone wrote as being a weak bunch of BS. It’s great to see new posters here like you and @Kcmatt7 but we won’t react too well if our civility and fun we’ve had here gets compromised.

  • @wissoxfan83 I didn’t realize how offended you would be. I was just trying to be a little funny. I write like I speak and I would have said the exact same thing to you in person. With that being said, I will do what I can to not offend you or others in future posts.

    @REHawk I also wasn’t trying to be a “know it all.” But, I will gladly answer your question since you are wanting to put me in my place so badly.

    First. Your question has an implication that Cliff would shoot nearly 50 3’s as a sophomore. And shoot it at least .300. A dangerous assumption being as how Cliff shot NONE last year.

    Second. You clearly know nothing of the lineage of Wisconsin basketball big men. They shoot the 3 at a pretty impressive clip.

    Look up:

    • Jared Berggren
    • Keaton Nankivil
    • Jon Leuer
    • Brian Butch
    • Mike Wilkinson
    • Zach Morley
    • Charlie Wills

    I was really not trying to ruffle any feathers. I enjoy this site much more than the one where it is a fight of 12 year olds who don’t ever provide facts or contribute anything. I learn a TON on this site. I am not a “know it all” but I am certainly not clueless and will voice my opinion.

  • @Kcmatt7 With your imagined implications and hapless presumptions you have shot off another two toes on this particular thread. You keep firing away haphazardly, how you gonna walk steadily into your next know it all diatribe?

  • @REHawk I’m just glad it wasn’t my fingers so I can keep typing.

  • @Kcmatt7 good one!

  • I personally enjoy @Kcmatt7 fresh personality. Sometimes his tone can be taken the wrong way, but I like the way he thinks.

  • @wrwlumpy Clean up in Lane 2!

  • @wrwlumpy Way to fill the lane!!! Talk about crashing the boards.

  • I’d like to see a Kaminsky / Withey comparison. Both matured by their Sr. season, both ended up in the NC title game. Withey with much more defensive knack, Kaminsky with way more scoring ability. But at the NBA level, Frank’s outside shooting and length simply make him one of those ‘coveted’ Euro-style bigs. Versatile. I think Kaminsky will have a longer NBA career, because of his “agile/mobile length”.

    I firmly believe Cliff coulda/shoulda/woulda been great for KU in Yr2, simply because he was on that dreaded frosh learning curve that SelfBall requires. He could have shown that he turned the corner in Feb, like Oubre did in Dec/Jan.

    Good god, we absolutely could have used Cliff vs KochitaState! I do blame Cliff partly for his mother’s “loan”–> he was 18, it was a loan based on his income potential…so he likely had to cosign the loan. He probably learned later that it was NCAA-bad, while not necessarily “bad” from a banking/lending standpoint, although now, if I was the loan officer, I’d be a bit nervous up to the point Cliff signed with Portland.

    All I can say for Cliff, is he’d better be a daggum warrior like Thomas Robinson, as they both are a bit undersized in the NBA paint, unless this trend for playing ‘smaller’ makes them more relevant. Zach Randolph is a fine example of a bit-undersized NBA big, who is relentless, and works his ass off. And he didn’t start off that way, he blossomed into that over a few years.

  • What no one has addressed is what the article pointed out was Cliff’s superior stats to our other bigs on a per minute basis. Believe this was a constant point of discussion here during the season, with if I recall HE,M leading the charge, especially in regards to JamTray PT vs Cliff.

    Why did Self not coach him through his mistakes, choosing as the article charges, to ‘sit him after one blown close out’?

    This is not to dismiss the shortcomings we all saw like Cliff not knowing where to be. To me this is the Self paradox - why some players play through repeated bone-headedness and others get the quick hook? See Seldon’s Soph season.

  • @ralster

    I think it would be great for Cliff’s development if he can get a basketball guru help him pick one NBA player for Cliff to mentor from and study that player’s techniques, IQ, attitude and hustle.

    Cliff has what so many players don’t have… the right physical structure. That is something other guys can’t train to adjust.

    Hope the big guy figures it out.

  • @Bwag

    In an ideal world that would be the case, but you have to consider that Coach Self owes to the team to play the combination most likely to have success and provide wins. Keep in mind that college basketball is not an extra curricular activity like it was originally; now, it is a business and as such it must be run as one…as much as many of us wished it would not be. Cliff showed flashes of greatness but overall his basketball IQ was well below that of the average incoming freshman and he was a liability on defense as he was frequently caught out of position and his offense enough was not good enough to justify more playing time. This my own opinion and I know others think differently.

    It is possible the much like Perry did in his freshman year and also Oubre , he could have put the game pieces together and excel at the end of the season…but I guess we will never know that. The fact that he publicly indicated that he was considering coming back for a second year at KU is a clear indication that he was aware of his shortcomings.

  • Evidently the nba scouts saw the reason Cliff wasn’t getting more time too. He had time to prove that wrong during predraft workouts, before the knee problem. Hopefully he works out, Cliff needs bb.

  • @Bwag While there IS a difference in how Self handles some of his McD-level recruits (they play early and often, I refer to it as the Rush Rules…), I’d still put Cliff in the camp of Shady and TRob. Those guys would collect 3 quick fouls and be riding pine in a hurry. Wiggins rarely collected 3 quick fouls, despite being the team’s best defender as a frosh.

    Wiggins, Rush, Sherron, Embiid, to name a few, were in a class by themselves as frosh. Maybe I should put Devonte Graham on that list, kid is amazing. (You can see him play for the Univ. of KS this upcoming season…).

    My point is, that Self tries to play most of his frosh, to see who ‘sticks’ (gets “it” and is actually playable), and who needs more work and time in practice over the course of the season. Oubre is a perfect example. When Self played him vs KY, we all knew Oubre wasn’t ready, but Self was simply playing his MickeyD, like Calipari was playing his. Oubre really wasn’t playable until late Dec-early Jan… I was hoping Cliff would become playable by late Feb/early March, but the NCAA thing robbed us of that possibility.

  • @Bwag

    Regardless of the per minute stats on offense, Cliff was lacking in terms of his understanding his job.

    Low basketball IQ, slow thought process, matador defense, quick fouls, inconsistent play, poor attitude and lack of consistent intensity are thing that typically land freshman on the pine on Bill Self teams. And Cliff possessed several of those attributes.

    So did Oubre, but once he figured it out…he played.

  • I always find the Cliff stuff interesting.

    Try this thought – Self didn’t play him for reasons that may have been uniquely important to Self. Self further may have been trying, by his handling of Cliff, to inspire better production later in the season.

    That does not mean Traylor or Lucas were better, or even made the team better when Self played those two over Cliff.

    In fact, it was quite easy to see that we were better (most of the time) when Cliff was in the game.

    I am the first to admit that the big picture, though, is important. For example, Self said that he wanted Cliff to play harder. Cliff playing at say 85% of his total motor might have been fine (better than Traylor or Lucas at 100%), but perhaps Self was working to inspire him to play to the level Self wanted him to, and knew he could play to. This would ultimately make us better.

    But let’s not kid ourselves. We were better with Cliff in the game (a vast majority of the time). He was a better and more productive player than our pedestrian bigs (Traylor/Lucas). And those pedestrian bigs made mistakes, didn’t hustle at times, and have major, major flaws in their games.

    Another important point is that it is all irrelevant. Cliff couldn’t play the last part of the season, nor in the post-season. So whether he should or shouldn’t have played more is moot. In hindsight, we shouldn’t have played him one minute the entire 2014-15 season.

    ** And by the way, @SoftballDad2011 hit on some good points related to why Self may have had a burr in his saddle on Cliff. Again, though, doesn’t mean Cliff wasn’t better than either Traylor or Lucas, and doesn’t mean we wouldn’t have been better with him on the floor consistently than either of those two. Self does what he does, and he has his reasons.

  • @HighEliteMajor

    My thoughts were that Cliff didn’t have his mind right. He was forgetful often on defense, giving up easy baskets. And then there were times where he just didn’t hustle.

    I think Self thought of the big picture, and he was battling Cliff to get his mind right. There is no way we can expect to win if one of our players on the floor doesn’t have his mind right… like refusing to hustle. Eventually, that will eat at all of the guys’ mindset.

    I’m not going as far as saying Cliff was a “bad apple.” He just wasn’t mentally where the rest of the team was.

  • I think Cliff will be successful in the NBA. As @drgnslayr pointed out, Cliff has the physical ability to succeed in the NBA, something that 99.999% of the population just doesn’t have. That alone puts him in a position where he could play in the NBA, something most people cannot say.

    The other thing you have to realize with Cliff is that Cliff has a 7-3.5 wingspan. Wingspan is much more important than height in two critical NBA areas - blocked shots and offensive rebounds. As a result, Cliff’s long arms mean that he has the same standing reach as Frank Kaminsky and a longer standing reach than current NBAers Anthony Randolph, Charlie Villanueva, Chris Bosh, Taj Gibson, and Michael Beasley, and a longer reach than 2015 draftees Karl Anthony Towns, Montrezl Harrell and others.

    Suffice it to say that Cliff could be the steal of the (undrafted) draft.

  • just put out NBA player projections. I thought their projections on Cliff Alexander were very interesting. This is based purely on his college stats, but it pretty much suggests that Cliff’s college performance makes him a potentially elite rebounder, finisher and shot blocker among other rookies. The player most similar to Alexander is DeAndre Jordan. Not a bad comp. Zach Randolph and Samuel Dalambert are other successful players with comps to Cliff. There are some duds out there - Chris Taft and Randolph Morris - but even BJ Mullens has been a decent bench player, and Jordan, Taft, Morris and Mullens are Cliff’s closest comps.

    The projections for Kelly Oubre are not nearly as positive. His lead comp is Xavier Henry. He has some positive comps (Jason Richardson, Luol Deng, Thaddeus Young), but his closest four comps are Henry, Daquan Cook, Shawne Williams and Zach Levine. Not a star in the group. Not even a high level starter.

    There’s about a 50/50 chance Cliff makes it in the league by his comps. I think that’s about fair.

    Oubre has about a 40% chance to make it. Seems backwards for a lottery pick and an undrafted FA.

  • @justanotherfan

    Zav Levine is now the starting guard for the Wolves next to Rubio and he is an integral part of the Wolves rebuilding plans. He also won the slam dunk contest and if you look at his stats for the later part of last season you will see that he is a star in the making…he is only 20 years old.

  • @Bwag

    Hypothesis: Self knew all along Cliff was never going to survive the season, or come back, so he did the best he could for Cliff. He gave him some minutes to show scouts what he could do, but increasingly hedged him out of the rotation and developed Lucas and Jam Tray.

  • @JayHawkFanToo I looked at the stat line for the game against OKC. Wigs was lined up against Durant at SF. It seems our boy got schooled. Durants line in the same amount of time was double what Wigs’ was.

  • @jaybate-1.0 That is really the only reasonable explanation as to why Cliff didn’t play ahead of Traylor and Lucas. The other attempted explanations collapse under the weight of Cliff’s per minute contributions.

    The NBA player projections simply back up what I’ve said (and @Jesse-Newell and others have said) about his productivity. We can suggest subjectively that he had failures on defense, while conveniently ignoring the failures of Traylor and Lucas; and we can incorrectly question his effort, while again conveniently ignoring the failures of Traylor in that regard (I leave out Lucas because he goes at a consistently middling pace no matter what).

    Cliff has long arms and works hard on the boards. He’s got a chance to make a living in the NBA. But two more seasons at Kansas, I think, would have produced a much more developed player heading into the NBA.

  • @HighEliteMajor said:

    @jaybate-1.0 That is really the only reasonable explanation as to why Cliff didn’t play ahead of Traylor and Lucas. The other attempted explanations collapse under the weight of Cliff’s per minute contributions."

    I too believe jaybate’s hypothesis carries validity.

    in regard to the per minute contributions, which unquestionably favored Cliff, I have come to believe that Bill Self relies on another indices…% of potential…

    Meaning that when no one has emerged as the clear cut man, Self will reward the player who is producing at a level closet to their ceiling…Especially early in the season…in an effort to motivate the underperforming blue chip.recruit.

    In this case Traylor and Licas were producing at a higher level relative to the potential they possesd at the time…

    Self will also tolerate mistakes made with effort over mistakes made from passivity or apathy.

    Cliff clearly had more ability and impact - even when playing at half capacity - and I believe his ceiling would have risen with increased playing time and repetition.

    But right or wrong Coach refuses to reward a player who is not getting the most out of their skill set…unless there are no other viable opyions.

    Cliff’s playing time was also hindered by a low BB IQ, slow reactionary thought process and by inconsistent effort.

  • @SoftballDad2011

    Interesting and potentially verifiable (the kind that are most useful) hypothesis to test as we move forward this season.

  • @HighEliteMajor

    Yes, but it is a scary place for Mongo Bill Self fans such as myself to go.

    It suggests some possible insight into a problem that might have compromised the run of titles and added some vacated Ws, if you know what I mean. 😨

  • @Lulufulu

    Kevin Durant is going to go down as one of the all-time greats. In some mixes of team talent, I would rather have Durant than Lebron, and Lebron to use Self’s memorable phrase, is the biggest athletic freak on the planet. Durant is a great, great, great talent in the prime of his game.

    So: I am going to say that: a.) it is not surprising Wigs got schooled; and b.) Wigs needs more schoolings like that, if he were to reach deep and move beyond his phenomenal gifts to becoming the best he can be.

    This is another way of thanking the head master, Kevin Durant, and moving forward with renewed vigor toward joining the pantheon of the greats.

    Go, Andrew, go!!!

  • @Lulufulu

    I am not sure if you meat to address your post to me since I did not mention Wiggins or Durant. FWIW, you are talking about one of the top two or three players ni the NBA and past MVP and scoring champion against a rookie…do you think Wiggins was going to outplay Durant? I think not. On the other hand, did you checks the scoreboard of the game when Wiggins played against LeBron? Check that scoreboard…I think you will be shocked.

  • @JayHawkFanToo Yeah, I meant to reply to you but also in general. To answer your question, no I did not expect Wigs to be equal or greater than Durant. 😉

  • @Lulufulu

    I must be missing something. How do any of my posts in this thread relate to Durant vs. Wiggins? Just curious…

    BTW, did you check the box core of the game when Wiggins faced LeBron? Here is the video…

  • I know i’ll get vilified for it, but i’m just surprised (well not really) how no one is pointing the finger at self? Cliff, through his handlers, messed up but prior to that, it was on self for not developing cliff more.

    Self has to figure out his players, try to motivate them and help develop their game. To simply say Cliff was dumb and just couldn’t pick the game is bs. equally at fault is self who didn’t fully figure out Cliff’s other skill sets like his perimeter jump shot. Self tends to one-dimensionalize his players and it makes sense if this approach is being successful, but when it stops yielding results, time to change too.

    sometimes, people on this board get so blinded with love for self, they automatically bash whoever says anything that’s even remotely questioning or criticizing self.

    Self is a great coach, but he has his flaws too.

  • @elpoyo in fairness, the Bill Self toughening box works for some and not at all for others.

  • @approxinfinity wish everyone could see practices👀

  • @elpoyo Peruse a little under this thread.

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