Top-five senior Cliff Alexander proves himself alongside Okafor

By Jeff Borzello | College Basketball Writer

It's not often the two best post players in the country play on the same AAU team, but that was the case last week with Mac Irvin Fire at the Peach Jam. Jahlil Okafor, the nation's No. 1-ranked prospect, was joined by Cliff Alexander, No. 4 in the 2014. Okafor didn't have much to prove -- he just finished dominating for the U-19 National team and is pretty firmly entrenched at the top of the class.

Alexander, on the other hand, showed off an expanded offensive game and held up fine when compared to Okafor. He averaged 14.5 points and 9.6 rebounds at the Peach Jam, demonstrating an effective face-up jumper.

"I was in the gym 24/7 working on that," Alexander said. "My high school coach said that's what I have to do if I want to play at the next level. That baseline jumper. So that's what I've been working on."

The 6-foot-9 power forward from Curie (Ill.) recently released a list of his top 10 schools. It included Kansas, Michigan State, Kentucky, Louisville, Illinois, DePaul, Indiana, Memphis, Baylor and Arizona.

At the Peach Jam, Alexander said he wanted to take official visits to Kansas, Memphis, Louisville and Arizona. His fifth trip is yet to be determined.

Kentucky already has Karl Towns committed in 2014, but the Wildcats are making an effort for Alexander.

"[John Calipari] is telling me how they're going to win a national championship this year. They've got a chance," Alexander said. "He's telling me if I do come there, he's gonna turn me into a Terrence Jones. And that's what I kind of see myself playing as."

One school constantly mentioned with Alexander is Michigan State, which has been among his leaders for a long time. Tom Izzo and his staff are firmly in the running.

"How they develop their players," Alexander said when asked what he likes about the Spartans. "Izzo is a great guy. We've built a great relationship since he started recruiting me. The campus is beautiful."

The same goes for Illinois, which has the added benefit of being an in-state option for Alexander.

"I built a great relationship with Coach [John] Groce since he came in," he said.

While Alexander seems to have his recruiting fairly under control, a decision doesn't seem to be on the horizon. He wants to take his official visits and will also likely go on unofficials to a couple of schools.

This one could play itself out for a while.

"I won't commit no time soon," Alexander said.

 
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