Over the weekend Cliff Alexander caused quite a stir when he sent out this tweet.
Me & broski will be playing @JMamba5 playing college basketball together— Cliff Alexander (@humblekid11) September 15, 2013
As is normally the case when Alexander tweets something, Illini fans and fans of other schools went into psychologist mode trying to figure out WHAT IT ALL MEANS. Though, honestly, this tweet was pretty damn straightforward. The question was whether or not Alexander was being sincere or if he was just tweeting for the sake of tweeting.
I'm guessing your interpretation was in line with what you wanted it to be.
As for reality, it appears that Alexander may have been being sincere, as both he and Lyle will be going on a visit to Memphis together in October according to his mother.
"[Cliff's] been telling me that him and JaQuan Lyle are going to play together," Alexander's mother, Latillia, told Adam Zagoria. "That's the reason JaQuan Lyle decommitted."
"Clifton just told me, ‘Yeah, they're going together [to Memphis]. We're going to Kansas on the 4th of October, Memphis on the 18th of October and Illinois on the 26th of October. It might be a good idea if JaQuan Lyle goes as well [to Memphis]."
Now, obviously, this is not good for Illinois' chances of landing Alexander. The Illini really don't have room for JaQuan Lyle -- you're only allowed one Louisville point guard decommit at a time -- and some will tell you that the Illini don't have room for Alexander, either.
But the good news is that while Alexander wants to play with Lyle, he's also said that it's not a requirement.
Just spoke to Cliff Alexander, says Jaquan Lyle is "like a brother," and it "would mean a lot to him" to play together. @humblekid11— Taylor Rooks Sports (@ImTaylorRooks) September 15, 2013
Alexander says they "want to go to the same school, but if its not there, he wont force it." Wants his schools to recruit Lyle @humblekid11— Taylor Rooks Sports (@ImTaylorRooks) September 15, 2013
So Illinois is still alive, even though, admittedly, this news doesn't look good for us. Still, while I'd love to land Alexander, the fact is that, with or without him, the Illini 2014 class is still really good. So losing out on him wouldn't sting nearly as much as it would have before John Groce landed both Leron Black and Quentin Snider.