Groce Can Make Big Splash With Curie’s Alexander

CliffMy Friday, Oct. 25, column from CBS Chicago

(CBS) There may be plenty of fish in the sea, but when it comes to the pool of high school basketball recruits, there simply aren’t many 6-foot-8, 225-pound marlins out swimming around in the waters.

Cliff Alexander, however, would fit that gill, er, bill.

And beginning today, Alexander – the consensus national Top 5 recruit from Chicago Curie – will be on campus in Champaign-Urbana this weekend for an official visit during University of Illinois Homecoming.

The attendance of such a highly touted athlete is a big deal for the Illini of course, and the coaching staff is expected to pull out all the stops. But the arrival of an in-state recruit with Alexander’s pedigree is hardly unprecedented in Champaign.

After all, the program has gone fishing for the big local catch before.

It did it 15 years ago with Corey Maggette (who committed to Duke). It did it 10 years ago with Shaun Livingston (who committed to Duke before choosing the NBA). It did it six years ago with Derrick Rose (who committed to Memphis). And during that same year it did it with Eric Gordon, who former Illini coach Bruce Weber had on the hook only to see him wriggle off it and land with the Hoosiers at the last minute.

Continue reading at