As many of you already know, #IllinoisTwitter is a passionate bunch; they may be the most active college hoops fan base on social media. Sometimes that's a good thing, but most of the time it's just bad news. Tonight they turned their full attention to the Champions Classic. Kansas is taking on Kentucky tonight and the Illini faithful are on social crusade against Cliff Alexander, a freshman PF for the Jayhawks.
Where does this hatred stem from you ask? Well, it's because of a hat.
Alexander's "hat trick" during his signing day announcement ceremony drew the ire of Illini fans everywhere. The 5-star, hometown recruit could've changed the course of the program, but he instead selected the college basketball blue-blood.
Here's an excerpt on the hat trick from SBN's Ricky O'Donnell in a recent article about Alexander:
You have no idea how much this killed Illinois fans.
Illinois basketball has a long history of missing on five-star recruits from their own backyard. It happened with Sherron Collins and Jon Schyer and Derrick Rose and, most recently, Jalen Brunson. No one has ever rubbed it in quite like Cliff, though.
He said he pulled the hat trick because his high school teammates thought it was funny. I love that answer because a) it would have been so easy to lie and say it was a mistake, and b) only a group of teenagers would be capable of plotting something so cruel.
It's been a year since those fateful events, but the hate is real tonight. Fans, media, current players, former players, player's parents, media members--you name it. Here are some of my favorite tweets so far:
That #2 kid for Kansas is in foul trouble? Aw shucks...— Mike LaTulip (@MLaTulip_5) November 19, 2014
Cliff doesn't even start— Sam I Am (@B1G_Samb0) November 19, 2014
Cliff Alexander was in the game as long as the Illini cap was off the table #jackass— singal3 (@Singal3) November 19, 2014
There's still another half to be played tonight, so make sure to keep an eye on #IllinoisTwitter whenever Alexander enters the game.