It's time we checked in with old favorite Cliff Alexander, who remains the dream commit of many Illini fans. Cliff spent the weekend playing with other top high schoolers in the country at the LeBron James Skills Academy. And while he was there he put on quite a show. Twitter was filled with media members lauding his performance.
Seriously, look for yourself.
Sitting at LeBron Academy in Vegas. Otherwise known as the Cliff Alexander Show. The rim is still shaking.— Seth Davis (@SethDavisHoops) July 8, 2013
Progress that Cliff Alexander has made with his low post game is staggering. A year ago he couldn't make any of these moves.— Corey Albertson (@Corey_Rivals513) July 8, 2013
Cliff Alexander is defining dominance in the post right now. Big boying guys all over floor on the offensive end.— Eric Bossi (@ebosshoops) July 7, 2013
Anyway, while his dominance is one thing, there was other news that came out about Alexander over the weekend that sent fans running around with their heads cut off. By all reports the Illini are still in the running with Alexander, but he told Rivals.com that he was planning on taking four official visits, and Illinois was not one of them.
He's going to officially visit Kansas on October 4 and follow that up with officials to Louisville, Arizona and Memphis. Now he also said that he "might take an unofficial to Illinois."
Now, there are two ways to take this. Some will see that Illinois isn't on his official visit list and freak out thinking that it means he's not coming to Illinois. However, you may also notice that Duke and Michigan State aren't on his official visit list, either. Nor is Kentucky. And those are all schools that have been mentioned with Alexander since the beginning.
No, the way I take it is that Alexander is already very familiar with Illinois, Duke, Michigan State and Kentucky, so he's using these official visits to learn more about the other schools on his list. Which, honestly, seems like a very smart way of going about this. He is allowed five official visits, though, so it will be interesting to see if a fifth one comes up.
There's also the fact that official and unofficial visits differ in that schools can pay for your travel and boarding on an official visit. Where as the player and his family pay their own way on an unofficial. So if you are Cliff Alexander and his family, it makes more sense to make official visits to places that are further away.
Paying for your own trip to Arizona is a lot more expensive than jumping in the car for the three-hour drive to Champaign.
So, personally, I don't think there's any reason for Illinois fans to be worried about this development. In fact, since he mentioned he might make another unofficial visit to Illinois -- he's already made two unofficial visits to Champaign -- I take that as a good omen.
Either way, we won't know for sure for a while. Alexander says that he might cut his list down from ten after the summer, but he still has no timetable as to when he'll make his final decision.