cliff_alexander_2

by Franklyn Calle / @FrankieC7

Having already been compared to previous No. 1 draft picks Amer’e Stoudemire and Elton Brand, Cliff Alexander has potential through the roof. But in the last few months, the 6-9 big man has taken his assertiveness to a whole new level. Putting up numbers like 30 points, 26 rebounds and 14 blocks in a game is something that Alexander makes look easy. That’s when he’s not shattering backboards or posterizing dudes while recreating the jumpman logo.

After the aforementioned triple-double performance, he traveled to Springfield (MA) for the Hoophall Classic on MLK Day, the most start-studded HS showcase of the winter, where he easily came away as the talk of the event after dropping 30 points, 12 rebounds and 5 blocks against then No. 1 ranked Montverde Academy in an enormous upset victory—oh, and he also had the crowd going crazy after dunking on the same player on consecutive possessions.

Although he’s listed as 6-9, the Chicago native reportedly possesses an incredible 7-3 wingspan. His height and bulky physique alone make him a highly sought after prospect for scouts, but when you add the kind of athleticism and explosiveness he demonstrates, it just begins to look unfair. It’s a man among boys type of situation. But he isn’t just all dunks and spin moves in the paint. He can also sink it from midrange and from the charity stripe. At Hoophall, he went a perfect 9-9 from the free-throw line.

Prior to his 30/26/14 performance and Hoophall, Alexander was named the Athlete of the Month for December by the Chicago Tribune/WGN after averaging 27 points,17 rebounds and 5 blocks per game, including posting 22 points, 20 rebounds and five blocks against nationally ranked Bishop Gorman (NV) in a victory. He ended 2013 at the Pontiac Holiday Tournament, where he took home MVP honors after posting a 37-point, 26-rebound, 5-block performance (which included 10 dunks) in one of his outings.

He’s put Curie HS on his back and has carried the team up to the No. 2 spot on USA Today‘s most recent top-25 national rankings and a 19-1 record. We wouldn’t be surprised if the future Jayhawk receives the Athlete of the Month title again for January. Needless to say, Alexander has been tearing up the competition all season long, and thus deserving of his new ranking spot. The kid is a beast and as explosive as you’ll find at his size.

Prospects that also moved up the list include Indiana-bound James Blackmon Jr, who’s averaging 36.2 points per game thus far, and UNC-bound Justin Jackson, averaging 31.4 points this season for HCYA, while BYU-commit TJ Haws makes his top-50 debut.

As has become an annual occurrence, Texas and Illinois continue to be well represented on the Fresh 50 list.

RANKPLAYER        HEIGHT POSSCHOOLCOLLEGEWHY?
1Cliff Alexander     6-9CCurie (IL)KansasNo one attacks the rim stronger than he does. The explosiveness and athleticism for his size is jaw-dropping.  
2Emmanuel Mudiay6-5PGPrime Prep (TX)SMUExplosive combo guard who can score from anywhere on the floor, as well as create for others and find the open man.
3Jahlil Okafor6-10CWhitney Young (IL)DukeJust too big and strong for prep level competition. Refined post player. 
4Tyus Jones6-1PGApple Valley (MN)DukeBest passer and pure point guard in the class.
5Stanley Johnson6-7SFMater Dei (CA)ArizonaUtilizes his sturdy physique to overpower opponents, and now has established a respectable perimeter game. Can play guard and forward positions. 
6Karl Towns Jr. 6-10PFSt. Joseph’s (NJ)Kentucky Big man that can play multiple positions and hold his own out on the perimeter. 
7Justin Jackson 6-7SFHCYA (TX)UNCPotentially holds the best mid-range game in the class. 
8Kelly Oubre6-7SFFindlay Prep (NV)Kansas Arguably the most versatile swingman in the country.
9D’Angelo Russell 6-5SGMontverde Academy (FL)Ohio StatePossibly the smoothest jumper in the country. 
10Myles Turner6-10CTrinity (TX)Undecided Possesses a nice touch around the rim. He can step out and sink it from distance, too. 
11Trey Lyles6-9 PF Arsenal Technical (IN)KentuckySkilled big whose game extends out into the perimeter. 
12Justise Winslow6-6 SFSt. John’s (TX)DukeExplosive lefty wing who can get to the rim or sink it from distance. 
13Rashad Vaughn 6-6SGFindlay Prep (NV)Undecided One of the top shooters in the class. 
14Theo Pinson 6-6G/FWesleyan Christian (NC)UNCSkilled wing with a knack for scoring. 
15Isaiah Whitehead 6-4SGLincoln (NY)Seton HallSharpshooter who can also finish strong at the rim, in addition to making the extra pass.
16Kevon Looney 6-9PF Milwaukee Hamilton (WI)UCLAA great rebounder that can also finish at the rim with an array of post moves. 
17Chris McCullough 6-10PFIMG Academy (FL)SyracuseAthletic big man that utilizes his agility to do damage in the paint. 
18Joel Berry6-1PGLake Highland (FL)UNC Great floor general that can easily score when called upon. 
19James Blackmon Jr.6-3SGMarion (IN) IndianaCan light up the scoreboard in a hurry. One of the nation’s top scorers.  
20Devin Booker 6-5SGMoss Point (MS)KentuckyUp there with Vaughn for the top shooter in the class title. 
21Daniel Hamilton 6-6SGSt. John Bosco (CA)UConnCan score in bunches. 
22Devin Robinson 6-8SFChristchurch School (VA)FloridaAthletic and skilled forward that’s very versatile on the offensive end.  
23Goodluck Okonoboh 6-9CWilbraham & Monson (MA)UNLVTerrific shot-blocker whose offensive game continues to expand. 
24Grayson Allen6-4SGProvidence School (FL)DukeSuperb athleticism and explosiveness, along with a perimeter game. 
25Reid Travis6-8PFDe La Salle (MN)StanfordGreat at drawing bodies and then finishing through contact. 
26Dwayne Morgan 6-7SF/PFSt. Frances Academy (MD)UNLVCan hold his own at either forward position. 
27Jaquan Lyle6-5PG/SGHuntington Prep (WV)Undecided The former Louisville-commit is your prototypical combo guard. 
28Craig Victor6-8PFFindlay Prep (NV) ArizonaA hard-worker in the paint that can step out and do damage from midrange.  
29Tyler Ulis5-9PG Marian Catholic (IL)KentuckyThe crafty guard keeps defenders on their toes at all times much due to his elusiveness with the ball.
30Keita Bates-Diop 6-7SFUniversity (IL)Ohio State Moves great around the rim and has expanded his range on offense.
31Shaqquan Aaron 6-7SFRainier Beach (WA)Louisville Great ball handler for his size, as well as passer and creator. 
32Brandone Francis 6-5SGArlington Country (FL) Florida Another big guard that can excel at the one or two. 
33Malik Pope6-8 SF/PFLaguna Creek (CA)San Diego State His speed and range causes match-up headaches.  
34Quentin Snider 6-1PGBallard (KY)Louisville Has good handles, court vision and overall great feel for the game. 
35Romelo Trimble 6-2PGBishop O’Connell (VA)Maryland Great shooter who can also take you off the dribble. 
36Isaac Copeland6-9 PFBrewster Academy (NH)Georgetown Can take defenders out of the paint and knock down jumpers consistently. 
37Chris Chiozza 5-10PGWhite Station (TN)Florida His terrific ball-handing skills allow him to create opportunities for himself and others. 
38Kameron Chatman 6-7SFColumbia Christian (OR)Michigan Great on the glass and in finding others. 
39Jordan McLaughlin6-0PGEtiwanda (CA)USCExplosive point guard that can attack the rim with the best of them. 
40Terry Larrier6-8SFPhelps School (PA)VCUHis athleticism and explosiveness alone can carry his offense. 
41Josh Perkins6-2PGHuntington Prep (WV)GonzagaA disciplined point guard whose value goes beyond what the stats show. 
42Leron Black6-7 PFWhite Station (TN)Illinois Terrific athlete that aside from doing work in the paint can also step out into the perimeter and create off the dribble. 
43Abdul-Malik Abu6-8PFKimball Union (NH)NC State He can sink it from midrange or put the ball on the floor and take you to the rim. 
44Ja’Quan Newton 6-3PGNeumann-Goretti (PA)Miami An impressive first step that gets him to the hole at will. 
45Trevon Bluiett6-5SF Park Tudor (IN)XavierAmong the top pure scorers in the class. Currently averaging 38.8 points per game.  
46Robert Johnson6-3SGBenedictine Prep (VA)Indiana Assertive scorer with deep range. 
47Dion Wiley6-4SGPotomac (MD)MarylandExplosive off the dribble. His shot has range, too. 
48Jakeenan Gant6-8PFEffingham County (GA)MissouriGreat motor, athleticism and lots of upside. 
49TJ Haws6-4SG Lone Peak (UT)BYU The latest Lone Peak standout with a deadly shooting stroke.  
50Brekkott Chapman6-8PFRoy (UT)UtahLefty who can do a little bit of everything.