Kansas Jayhawks: Which Cliff Alexander Will Show Up


The last time the Kansas Jayhawks played Texas, Cliff Alexander led the way with 15 points and nine rebounds, en route to a 75-62 victory.

That was 34 days ago.

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It’s ironic considering that is exactly how many points and rebounds the power forward has tallied in nine games since, good for a meager 3.8 points and rebounds per game, as he prepares for the rematch Saturday.

The Texas game was the fifth in a five-game stretch that saw the talented freshman average 10.6 points and 7.6 rebounds, in just 20 minutes per game.

The nine games following that stretch weren’t just bad in terms of points and rebounds. He never played more than 22 minutes, and saw the court for only six minutes February 16 in a one-point loss at West Virginia.

He has been held scoreless twice during the stretch, and has two total points the past three games, despite starting each of them.

Head coach Bill Self has said that Alexander’s playing time isn’t based on his numbers, but more on how he is playing at the time, and the match-up he likes on the floor.

"“The last two games, it’s easier for (Landen Lucas) to play good than it is Cliff,” Self said after the West Virginia game. “Without being critical, Landen is much better against the zone. He has a feel on gaps. He’s much better in pressure, handling the ball than Cliff. It was easier for him to look better in the last two games than Cliff.”"

The Longhorns have played more zone this year, and did against Kansas, but the Jayhawks hit six threes and were able to spread the floor a little, giving Alexander some easy looks under the basket.

If Self likes match-ups for his big men, he still may opt more for Lucas who can guard big man Myles Turner, who likes to play on the perimeter some, better than Alexander.

However, Big Cliff has shown he can play well against Texas, and at some point, if he isn’t on the court for some significant minutes, Self may mentally lose the big man for the rest of the year.

Alexander isn’t used to this, nor was his freshman McDonald’s All-American teammate Kelly Oubre, Jr. He went through the same process, but it was only about the first quarter of the season.

The Jayhawks have only three games left, and many more questions when it comes to Alexander and how he will play in what could be his only season in Lawrence.

While he has struggled some, the NBA doesn’t care as much about stats when drafting a player, as it does potential and athleticism — two things Alexander possesses.

If he can play for 20-plus minutes against Texas, and play well, it might be just enough to get him on track.

If not, from here on out, it will be a guess as to what Alexander will produce when, and if, he’s on the floor.

That is something no one expected when he thrilled KU fans, and ticked of Illini faithful, with his school announcement.

Next: Kansas Jayhawks: Naming the All-Bill Self KU Teams

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