Alexander dominates Peach Jam; talks U of L

NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. – University of Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino and his staff are involved in the recruitment of several top prospects. One of the best post players in the country – Cliff Alexander – will visit Louisville this fall. Cardinal Authority spoke with Alexander at the Nike Peach Jam.

University of Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino isn't sure who will fill out his recruiting class just yet.

But he knows one of the top post players in the country - Cliff Alexander – is at least going to be coming on campus this fall.

The Cardinals have made the visit cut list with the No. 6 prospect in the nation, according to the Scout.com rankings.

While playing for the Mac Irvin Fire at the EYBL Finals at the Nike Peach Jam, the five-star prospect from Curie High School in Chicago said he plans on visiting the Cardinals this fall. His other official visits will be to Kansas (Oct. 4), Memphis (Oct. 18) and Arizona.

Alexander said though he's still interested in Michigan State and Kentucky, because he already took unofficial visits to those places, he wanted to expand his travels so he could get a better feel for more schools.

Regarding Louisville, Alexander said he's talked with coach Rick Pitino over the phone, particularly how well he would fit into the Cardinals' system.

Alexander added he's taken notice of Louisville's recent success.

"It was pretty impressive, wining the national championship and get a few guys drafted," said Alexander, who hopes to see the athletic director and the campus during his visit to Louisville.

At this year's Peach Jam, Alexander and Mac Irvin Fire went 3-2 but didn't make it out of pool play. Alexander formed a formidable front court with teammate Jahlil Okafor, the No. 1 prospect for 2014.

"Teams that know him forget about me, leave me wide open and give me a chance to score," Alexander said. "It's a lot of fun. He throws me a lot of lobs in practice."

At the Peach Jam, Alexander averaged 14.6 points and 9.6 rebounds, with his rebound average ranking fifth for the tournament through pool play. He also blocked eight shots during the week and shot 59.6 percent from the field. His best game was against the Jackson Tigers on Thursday, when Alexander scored 23 points on 10-for-16 shooting, posted 13 rebounds and blocked four shots.

"It's a great experience playing against strong, great competition to prepare for the next level," he said.

Not surprisingly, Alexander loves to use his strength and high motor to get off shots close to the hoop – all the loud and impressive dunks during this year's Peach Jam are proof of that. But Alexander, listed as 6-foot-10, 250 pounds in the Peach Jam booklet, also wants to get better with his ball-handling, his post moves and with his jump shot. At the Peach Jam, the work on the jump shooting included stepping out to 3-point land, as Alexander attempted two 3-pointers during his team's five games this week.

Looking to the next level, Alexander said he knows about Louisville in part due to Wayne Blackshear. Alexander said he went up against Blackshear, who played for Mac Irvin Fire before Alexander, when he was a freshman in high school.

Besides liking how Louisville uses its post players in its system, Alexander is impressed with its future players. Quentin Snider, JaQuan Lyle and Shaqquan Aaron, all from Alexander's class, have already committed to the Cardinals, a fact that Alexander gets to hear about often and is greatly impressed with.

"I talk to JaQuan," Alexander said. "Every day, he tells me he wants me to play with him."


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