Handicapping the race for Cliff Alexander

Cliff Alexander, the No. 2 ranked player in the Class of 2014, is down to nine schools. AP Photo/Damen Jackson via Triple Play New Media

Cliff Alexander has lived in the shadow of fellow Illinois big man Jahlil Okafor. Until recently. Now the 6-foot-9, 240-pound power forward has made his way into the conversation for the top spot in the Class of 2014 -- currently held by Okafor.

The two big men played together all summer, and are a contrast in styles. The 6-11 Okafor is exceptionally skilled, a true post player who uses finesse. Alexander (ESPN’s No. 2 recruit) is powerful, intimidating and also athletic. He brings back visions of a young, healthy Amare Stoudemire.

“He dominates a game with nastiness,” said one coach involved in the recruitment.

Alexander listed nine schools to ESPN.com over the weekend (he did not mention Florida or Baylor) and said he has two official visits scheduled thus far: to Kansas for its Midnight Madness on Oct. 4 and to Arizona on Sept. 13.

Last week we talked to numerous people involved and then broke down the recruitment of Myles Turner -- the biggest riser in the past few months. Now it’s time to try and make some sense of Alexander’s situation, which isn’t an easy task.


1. Kansas Jayhawks