Cliff Alexander High School Mixtape
Cliff Alexander was considered a definite NBA prospect last year as he was the 3rd ranked player in the ESPN 100. Alexander attended Kansas where he was expected to be there a year before heading to the NBA Draft. But the best laid plans don’t always come out as expected as Alexander can attest.
It started with an ankle injury during the summer that kept Alexander off of the court and stunted his development. That caused a slow start to the season, which he didn’t show the same dominance he did in high school as the chief rival to Jahlil Okafor.
The slow start to the season compounded as Alexander’s playing time was cut, and then his season was ended early because of improper benefits. Despite all that it was still expected that Alexander would be picked in the first round, but less than ideal measurements and a knee injury during a workout caused him to go undrafted.
Alexander isn’t the only high-profile early entry to the NBA Draft that went undrafted, but he is the highest profile player to go undrafted. He still has a chance to make it in the NBA, but he is going to have to take the hard road now. This should serve as a cautionary tale to not only the players, but their families as well. Alexander could have used more seasoning in college, but that wasn’t an option for him because his family got greedy. Hopefully moving forward players and families will realize how fragile success in basketball is, and you always have to be focused on the end goal because one day it’s here, the next it’s gone.
High-Profile Players Who Went Undrafted
1. Cliff Alexander, F, Kansas
Comment: The culmination of a stunning fall for a top-five recruit frequently mentioned in the same breath as Jahlil Okafor and Karl-Anthony Towns as recently as a year ago.
2. Christian Wood, F, UNLV
Comment: The 6-foot-11 forward is a tantalizing combination of size and length, but his maturity and work ethic are both lacking.
3. Robert Upshaw, C, Washington
Comment: Even though Upshaw is the best shot blocker in this draft, concerns about his off-court issues and his heart problems kept him from being selected.
4. Aaron Harrison, G, Kentucky
Comment: Had Harrison been selected on Thursday, Kentucky would have been the first school to have seven draft picks in one year.
5. Brandon Ashley, F, Arizona
Comment: The one-time highly touted recruit has a nice pick-and-pop jump shot but no other elite skills to set him apart from other prospects.
6. Trevor Lacey, G, N.C. State
Comment: Lacey’s decision to leave school a year early made sense because of his age even though he was not selected. He’ll make a lucrative salary overseas if he doesn’t make an NBA roster.
7. Chris Walker, F, Florida
Comment: An NBA-caliber athlete who still looks like he doesn’t know how to play basketball, Walker had no business leaving school early.
8. Michael Qualls, G, Arkansas
Comment: An ill-timed knee injury during workouts wrecked Qualls’ hopes of being selected in the second round.