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H.S. Basketball Season Arrives

The high school basketball season has finally arrived.  Today is the kick off for games in the state of Illinois.  There is plenty to look forward to this season.

From a team standpoint it is completely loaded.  There will be a lot of contenders in both Chicago and down state for the 3A and 4A crowns with the star power very well dispersed.  The traditional powers are back again along with a new group of programs that are looking to make a run deep into March.

The class of 2014 is one of the best in recent memory.  It boasts a ton of division one signees and a few more that will still sign late.  The class has the nation’s top two prospects as well as double digit high major players.  It also has a great deal of depth after them.  This tremendous class will make their lasting impressions on the state this season.

The biggest leap during a prospects career is between the end of their sophomore season and the end of their junior campaign.  The class of 2015 in-state has several top players and a lot of depth.  There isn’t much separation in this class right now.  That will change this season as the best players will show out and prove on the court who is the real deal and who isn’t.

When it comes to the sophomore class there are prospects that have shown potential early on, but haven’t taken that step from prospect to player quite yet.  They still have time on their side.  There are a few 2016’s that have jumped toward the front of the class, but this will be an interesting group to follow to see how it develops over the next three years.

The class of 2017 might be the next big class in Illinois.  It has star power early on at all positions with a pair of legit post players, a few explosive wings, and a great deal of talented point guards.  Every event more freshmen continue to put their name on the radar.

ChicagoHoops will have coverage this season from all of the best holiday tournaments, events, and regular season games throughout the season.  We will have wall to wall coverage beginning with Thanksgiving tournaments including reports from six different events across the state over the next six days.

You can also check out live game action on ChicagoHoops courtesy of our partnership with HighSchoolCube who will have games from a variety of Thanksgiving Tournaments and beyond.

The high school season has arrived! Are you ready?


 

 

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Morgan Signs With Washington State

 

Moberly Area Community College (MO) star Jermaine Morgan has signed to play for Washington State University.

Morgan, a 6'8 post, starred as a prep at Chicago Whitney Young.

We caught up with Morgan who broke down his decision to attend Washington State.

Talk about the decision to commit and sign a LOI to Washington State?
 
“I committed to WSU because I like the setup and the conference that they are in. They are in the PAC-12 which is an up tempo conference that fits my style of play. I'm giving the opportunity to come in and play right away in a power conference. It was the best decision for my future because the conference gets a lot of attention all games are televised so the exposure is there.”
 
“Over the last couple of months I've done a lot of research on the program which is struggling right now and I want to help them rebuild. I honestly think I've made the right decision on choosing WSU.”
 
What other schools did you consider?
 
“St. Louis, New Mexico, Bradley, and UTSA.”
 
Talk about how the season is gong and what schools are all in the mix?
 
“The season is going well, we're getting better and better each and everyday. I just expect for us to continue to get better as a unit and get down to Hutchinson to make a run this spring.”


 

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Video: Cliff Alexander Talks Kansas

Curie 2014 power forward Cliff Alexander announced his decision to attend Kansas on Friday afternoon.  ChicagoHoops caught up with Alexander shortly after the decision in this one on one video interview to break down all angles of the commitment.

Click To Watch Cliff Alexander Discuss His Kansas Decision

 

 

 

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Video: Cliff Alexander Talks Kansas

Curie 2014 power forward Cliff Alexander announced his decision to attend Kansas on Friday afternoon.  ChicagoHoops caught up with Alexander shortly after the decision in this one on one video interview to break down all angles of the commitment.

Click To Watch Cliff Alexander Discuss His Kansas Decision

 

 

 

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Cliff Alexander Decision Day Primer

Well the craziest recruitment I have ever covered will come to an end soon.  The way this has gone you never know though.  The nation’s top power forward Cliff Alexander will make his college decision on Friday afternoon.

The first time I saw Alexander was at the Chicago Hoops Memorial Day Classic.  I caught up with him before the game as we had talked on the phone previously, but this would be my first time seeing him person.  The first play of the game he swatted a shot right into my hands and winked.  Maybe that should have been a sign of what was to follow.

Alexander early in his career was extremely raw, but still very productive.  Offensively all he could really do was dunk, but he did it with power and a lot of force.  He sealed well, ran the floor, and would finish up on the glass.  Defensively he has always had a great feel for blocking shots.

As his career progressed his game has grown considerably.  His combination of strength, power, and athleticism is still his calling card.  He can move bodies on the interior, but is agile enough to beat them in multiple ways.  The biggest leap of his career came this past spring and summer while playing in the Nike EYBL.  His post-game matured tremendously including adding more variety than just dunking.  He put in a quick hook shot and refined his baseline spin.  His ability to seal and finish in the high/low game is the best I have seen in a young prospect in a long time.

He has even added a face up game which he can utilize out of the post to knock down a mid-range jumper.  At the Nike EYBL in Minnesota he showed improvement even in his three point game knocking down a pair of threes then turning to the stands where he proceeded to throw up the “three goggles”.  This will never be his go to game, but he has shown it is in there and can be developed.

Cliff is a solid passer when double and tripled teamed.  At times he can get frustrated by the constant two and three defenders being run at him, but is more than willing to give it up to an open shooter than force a shot.  Rebounding is the area he has always excelled at.  He is the best rebounder in the country with his tenacity and desire to grab every single missed shot.  In every setting I have seen him in whether high school, AAU, or camps he has been the best rebounder on the floor.

Another area he has always stood out is playing with a high motor.  On both ends of the floor he plays with energy and never stops moving.  He might be the best post at running the floor nationally.  Alexander will secure the rebound, sprint right down the middle of the floor, receive the pass, and dunk it.  This is a small thing that gets him a couple easy baskets every game.

Defensively he is a superior shot-blocker.  He has tremendous timing and anticipation coming from the weak side.  He has also become a great shot blocker when guarding his man in the post.  Alexander has disturbed some of the best post scorers nationally over the last several years.  He anchors in the paint and doesn’t give up any ground.  If they try a spin move he will stone them.  For everything he does offensively it will be his defense and rebounding that will impress NBA scouts.

This past spring and summer Alexander played with the Mac Irvin Fire in the Nike EYBL where he averaged 16.0 points, 11.4 rebounds, 1.6 blocks, and 1.1 assists per contest.  As a senior he will lead Curie into the season as one of the top contenders for a 4A state championship and a prime candidate for Mr. Basketball in Illinois.

Oh yea the recruiting stuff.  The first time I spoke with Alexander the schools that he mentioned were Ohio State, Illinois, Arizona, Indiana, Northwestern, Iowa, and USC.  Over the next several years he would quickly pick up nearly every offer the country with his starring play on the circuit and in camps.  The three schools that were always heavily linked to him were Kentucky, Michigan State, and Illinois.  He said it over and over.  There is no top three.  Those three kept coming up as the only contenders until he released a list and then chopped them off one at a time including cutting early favorites Kentucky and Michigan State.

Before we get to the finalists you can’t talk Cliff without talking twitter.  He has kept everyone guessing with his daily tweets.  Alexander will say something that could have everything to do with recruiting or absolutely nothing at all.  Regardless it would be analyzed and dissected by every fan of the teams he was considering.  That would be followed with messages at him to go to their school.  It has been crazy to say the least.

Ok now to the decision.  Alexander will announce Friday between Illinois, Kansas, DePaul, and Memphis.  He took official visits to all four schools.  Those official visits were followed by unofficials the past two weekends to Illinois and Kansas.  The way this recruitment has gone there is no telling what could go down, but I know one thing there are a lot of people excited to see where he goes and put a wrap on this show!

Check out these ridiculous new highlights from Cliff’s summer and fall courtesy of Scott Comeau of BallisLife.

Click To Watch Cliff Alexander Video Highlights

 

 

 

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