Kansas Jayhawks: Wishing the Best for Cliff Alexander


It’s looking more and more likely the Kansas Jayhawks will be without the services of freshman big man Cliff Alexander this season — and possibly ever.

It could turn out to be a potentially tragic — in sports terms — situation for the power forward.

Reports are surfacing, although not confirmed, that the reason he has been suspended for a possible NCAA violation is in part because his mother may have taken out a loan.

Something everyone reading this article has most likely done in their lives.

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Obviously it’s a different situation when we are talking about an NCAA athlete and a finance company that “specializes in loans to professional athletes and agents,” as reported by Yahoo! Sports.

Before I go off the handle about the absurdity of the “violation,” as The Kansas City Star’s Sam Mellinger did so well, it is clearly against the rules.

In a world where a high school team can be suspended for wearing pink jerseys, and a coach has to attend a regional compliance seminar for buying pizza for his team, it should come as no shock that a team and player as high profile as Kansas and Alexander could have something negative happen.

But that doesn’t lessen the sting.

When rumors first surface about a player’s possible violation, the assumption many times is that the player did something foolish. While we don’t know the details here, and may never know for sure, it seems the only crime Alexander committed was being related to someone who broke the rules.

Even so, it’s not fair to berate his mother, because again, we don’t know the details. She could have been duped by someone who led her to believe this would not be a violation, and it’s easier to play armchair quarterback than to actually, you know, act realistically.

Feb 10, 2015; Lubbock, TX, USA; Kansas Jayhawks forward cliff Alexander (2) blocks a shot by Texas Tech Red Raiders guard Robert Turner (14) in the first half at United Supermarkets Arena. Kansas defeated Texas Tech 73-51. Mandatory Credit: Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Reserving judgement however, does not erase the fact that Alexander may fall through the cracks in the system.

One would hope KU head coach Bill Self would use his power to keep that from happening to Alexander, but he can do only so much as his focus has to remain on his team.

Alexander was a possible lottery pick at the start of the season, but after an up-and-down campaign that has seen him lead the team to victories, and put goose eggs on the stat sheet after starting, if he leaves now that scenario is very unlikely.

Most draft boards list the freshman as being taken somewhere between 19 and 22 in the June NBA Draft should he declare early.

If true, he falls out of the lottery discussion. If he doesn’t play basketball from February until June, his stock will remain steady at best.

He would be looking at a first-year salary of just over $1 million, which is nothing to cry about. However, should he go now, and not develop in to an NBA-caliber player, bounce around the D-League, and eventually find himself out of the pros all together, that money won’t go as far as you might think.

If he falls to the second round, a rookie contract isn’t even guaranteed.

A second year in Lawrence would do wonders for his confidence, and Self could help turn him in to a sure-fire lottery selection.

It’s a sad situation all the way around, one that, in the end, will effect Alexander more than anyone.

It’s possible the NCAA will come out soon with an announcement saying the Chicago native has been reinstated.

That scenario, however, is unlikely.

The Jayhawks will move on and have successful seasons as they tend do, and one can only hope the story plays out the same way for Big Cliff.