Recruit Cliff Alexander snubs Illini, commits to Jayhawks


The jewel of John Groce’s eye spurned Illinois and his home state school in favor of Bill Self’s Kansas Jayhawks. Chicago native and Curie Metropolitan High School center Cliff Alexander verbally committed to play at Kansas in a televised announcement.

Alexander was the No. 3-ranked player overall in the class of 2014 according to ESPN.com and the No. 4-ranked player overall according to Rivals. He will join the Jayhawks beginning with the 2014-15 season.

The decision had been narrowed down to four schools: Kansas, Illinois, DePaul and Memphis. Alexander made his announcement at his high school minutes after top-ranked players Jahlil Okafor, of Chicago, and Tyus Jones, of Apple Valley, Minn., committed to play at Duke.

Alexander first grabbed the Illinois hat and raised it partway toward his head before putting it back down and grabbing the Kansas hat.

“I did what was best for me and what was best for me and my family,” Alexander said.

Alexander’s announcement came on the same day that Illinois lost a commitment from Louisville, Ky., point guard Quentin Snider. Snider had been committed to Illinois until he switched his commitment and signed with Louisville on Friday morning.

Illinois has already signed power forwards Leron Black, of Memphis, and Michael Finke, of Champaign. Black is a four-star recruit and a top-40 recruit, according to multiple recruiting websites.

Groce spoke to media Saturday but didn’t discuss Alexander or Snider’s decisions. 

Sean can be reached at [email protected] and @sean_hammond.