A year that began with a lot of promise finished with a whimper, and now Kansas freshman Cliff Alexander is off to the NBA with draft stock that has plummeted from when he first set foot on campus in Lawrence. Jayhawks head coach Bill Self gave a statement about the decision, per CBS Sports’ Gary Parrish:
“This should come as no surprise,” Self said. “Cliff had a very interesting … year.”
“We all feel bad for Cliff for what he and our team had to go through because it was difficult for him to sit and watch his teammates play without him,” Self said. “During his time here, Cliff certainly got better. I loved coaching Cliff. But we support his decision 100 percent to move on and take his ability to the next level.”
Alexander was viewed as a possible top 10 pick (maybe even top five) in the 2015 draft at the start of the season, but his stock began to drop throughout the course of the season due to uneven play that led to sporadic playing time. The big man averaged 7.1 points and 5.3 rebounds while shooting 56.6 percent from the field before missing the final eight games of Kansas’ season because of eligibility concerns stemming from allegations of improper benefits given to him or a family member.
Now, Alexander is seen as a borderline first-round pick. He’s just outside the first round at DraftExpress and is at No. 40 on the draft board of ESPN’s Chad Ford. While he’s strong and athletic, he’s a bit undersized for a power forward at 6’8, although his 7’4 wingspan helps make up for that somewhat. His offensive game isn’t all that refined, and he needs to add some semblance of a jumper.