Cliff Alexander Completes First Visit

Chicago Curie big man Cliff Alexander is one of the most sought after centers in the nation. This weekend the 5-star prospect took the first of his official visits to DePaul's Lincoln Park campus. In this report, Curie basketball coach Mike Oliver updates us on the visit and Cliff's recruitment.

Cliff Alexander didn't just get to stay in a 5-star luxury hotel like the Trump Tower in downtown Chicago and dine on steak. That was a bonus. Cliff got a chance this weekend to see what DePaul Basketball is all about first hand.

Curie coach Mike Oliver was able to observe his star player during portions of the official visit.

"I was in and out," said Oliver. "From what I saw and heard on both sides, I think it was a great visit. He doesn't have anything to compare it to, but from what he told me, and his Mom told me, it went great."

Alexander is being courted by blue chip programs such as Louisville, Kansas, Kentucky, and Michigan State, but what DePaul has to offer is the opportunity to play in Alexander's hometown.

"He gets to play in front of his fans, his city," said Oliver. "They've got a good group of guys down there now, that he knows personally. What they tried selling him on, and what I thought was beneficial for DePaul is, he'd be stepping into a situation where he stepped in at Curie. It's a good program, we need just one guy to take us to the next level. It would be his team. They've got some good players – Billy Garrett, Jr., Myke Henry, Rashaun Stimage, and Tommy Hamilton, Jr. Cliff would be the main focus. He'd be the poster boy in his own city."

The 6-9, 240 lb. big man also plans on taking official visits to Arizona (September 13), Kansas (October 4), Memphis (October 18), and possibly Louisville. Other schools in the mix are Illinois and Indiana.

"He has some good choices," said Mike. "I really think the favorites, if I had to pick three, are DePaul, Kansas, and Michigan State."

Coach Oliver was quick to point out that Cliff's family will play an important role in his decision.

"If he is going to do one or two years (in college), his Mom doesn't want to relocate and move away," said Oliver. "I think his Mom would love to see him play basketball. That's a big factor for DePaul and Illinois. She could get to see him play."

Alexander is interested in the opportunity to play in front of his hometown fans in what is a world class city.

"I think DePaul did a really great job of impressing him," said Oliver. "He's going to see other schools, but it's going to be hard for other schools to duplicate what DePaul has. I mean a big city, his city, where basketball is on the upclimb."

Once Cliff has his decision behind him, he'll be able to focus on the coming season at Curie. The Condors return an experienced team that includes Joseph Stamps and brother Joshua Stamps. Curie finished last season at 19-8 with a 62-58 loss to Whitney Young in the IHSA Sectional at Argo.

The Condors will face a tough Chicago Public League schedule and host a St. Rita team featuring Charles Matthews, Vic Law, and Myles Carter on December 1st. North Lawndale will face East St. Louis in the first game of the doubleheader at Curie.

"I think it's going to be a season where we get over the hump," said Oliver. "We were right there last year, we were young. We got good experience and a marquee player."

Curie won the DePaul Team Camp in June and has shown signs of improvement all summer long.

"The confidence is sky high," said Mike. "We had a great summer. We won three out of the four leagues we played in and showcases like the DePaul camp."

What bodes well for Curie is that they played well this summer in games that their team leader missed.

"The best part of that was we won games without Cliff," Oliver said. "We beat Bogan pretty handily by 20 or so. When Cliff isn't there, we see who steps up. It was a team effort. It's good to see people comfortable to step up and be a leader."

For now, Cliff Alexander will focus on the start of the school year and weigh his college options as he prepares for the coming season and his Signing Day in November.


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