Although he recruited Derrick Rose and Anthony Davis from Chicago, Kentucky coach John Calipari remarked in December that he didn’t have a whole lot experience recruiting players from the area.
That is quickly changing.
Calipari has been after Simeon forward Jabari Parker, the nation’s No. 1 senior, and Whitney Young center Jahlil Okafor, the nation’s No. 2 junior, over the past year. And now he has added Curie center Cliff Alexander, the No. 10 junior, to the mix. Alexander, who is 6-foot-9 and 240 pounds, added an offer from Kentucky on Tuesday, according to Reggie Rose, who runs the D Rose All-Stars.
“I think Kentucky is one of his dream schools,” said Reggie, who handled his younger brother Derrick’s recruitment. “I’m pretty sure he’s excited. At the same time, when I talk to Cliff, I tell him when Derrick was in high school his dream school was North Carolina, and he went to Memphis. It’s about what is your best fit.”
Reggie Rose believes Alexander can be a good fit for Kentucky because of his mobility as a big man, and he can get up and down the court in Kentucky’s fast-paced offense. In comparison, Reggie Rose believes a big man like Okafor is a better fit for Michigan State because the Spartans can utilize him in their half-court offense.
“I think Okafor is a great talent,” Rose said. “Different programs fit different players. I think Okafor would be a better player at Michigan State than at Kentucky. I think Cliff would be a better player at Kentucky than at Michigan State.”
Michigan State coach Tom Izzo likely would disagree. Izzo has been recruiting Alexander throughout his high school career and has been in Chicago often to see him.
Illinois also has made its interests known, and Alexander recently made an unofficial visit to its campus. DePaul, Indiana, Ohio State and Wisconsin, among others, also are recruiting Alexander.
Despite all of the schools after Alexander, Rose said he hasn’t spoken with him about recruiting, and they wouldn’t get serious about it until after his junior season in high school.
“To be honest, I don’t really sit down and talk about the schools,” Rose said. “He took an unofficial to Illinois, but we haven’t gotten into a top 3, top 5 schools. I’ll let him play his high school junior season, and we’ll start seeing the possibility of where the best fit is and where his head is. I like the kids to make a decision before their senior years.”
Alexander is nursing an ankle injury and sat out the D Rose All-Stars’ first July tournament. Rose said he likely won’t play this week either.