NCAA Basketball Recruiting: Cliff Alexander, JaQuan Lyle the Latest Package Deal

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NCAA Basketball Recruiting: Cliff Alexander, JaQuan Lyle the Latest Package Deal
Cliff Alexander is one of the most coveted big men in the country (Courtesy 247Sports.com)

Package deals seem to be the rage in the 2014 recruiting class, and consensus top-five big man Cliff Alexander has picked out the guard he wants feeding him the ball.

After combo guard JaQuan Lyle decided to de-commit from Louisville, Alexander tweeted this Sunday:

Lyle told ESPN.com's Dave Telep there is one school he would have a hard time turning down.

"It would probably be Kansas," Lyle told Telep. "I like them a lot, and me and (assistant) coach (Jerrance) Howard had a relationship at Illinois and also when he was at SMU."

Kansas, it just so happens, has also been considered the leader for Alexander by multiple insiders

Now, it's probably too soon for the folks in Lawrence to uncork the champagne. These are high school kids, after all, and Alexander's twitter account is like a big tease for fans—he retweets just about any Joe Schmo's prediction on where he's headed.

And if you cross-reference Alexander's and Lyle's lists—or at least who Lyle told Telep he's spoken with since de-committing—Kansas is one of five schools that both are considering, along with Arizona, Baylor, Memphis and Indiana.

In the hypothetical world we live in with recruiting, the Jayhawks do make sense as a favorite. Bill Self's system would be a good fit for Alexander, and the KU staff has a good relationship with the folks where Lyle plays his high school ball: Huntington Prep. That's the same school where Andrew Wiggins played.

Immediate playing time is also important to Lyle, and his main competition at Kansas would most likely be Naadir Tharpe. Tharpe has had a few good games in his career and should get the chance to start this year, but he's hardly unbeatable competition. 

The point of these deals is to go win a title together, and Lyle and Alexander, on paper, would make Kansas one of the top title contenders in 2014-15. Self has a deep roster already and would still have a good core even if Wiggins, Wayne Selden and Joel Embiid leave for the NBA after one season.

Self could already have a contingency plan in place if he loses both Wiggins and Selden. The Jayhawks have been considered the favorite to sign wing Kelly Oubre, the 20th-ranked player in the 2014 class, according to ESPN.com.

Obviously, this arrangement sets up really nicely for Kansas, but the bigger story with all of these package deals could be whether this will turn into a thing in recruiting.

What's odd about this duo and that of the trendsetters in this class—Jahlil Okafor and Tyus Jones—is something CBSSports.com's Gary Parrish wrote about this summer: two players from different parts of the country deciding to play together.

Which school will sign Cliff Alexander and JaQuan Lyle?

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Okafor is from Chicago, and Jones is from Apple Valley, Minn. The belief is they'll end up at Duke together. Alexander is also from Chicago—he's AAU teammates with Okafor—and Lyle is originally from Evansville, Ind., and he now plays his high school ball in West Virginia.

Wings Stanley Johnson from Fullerton, Calif., and Justise Winslow from Houston, Texas, have also said they'd like to play together.

Where does this come from? Could it be the LeBron James' effect on recruiting?

Never underestimate the influence of the King, who decided who he wanted to play with and made it happen in Miami.

These arrangements make sense on the college level and are easier to execute. Players feel like they have some control over not only where they go, but also who they'll play with. 

The players also interact so often on the AAU circuit and at summer camps that it's like they do come from the same cities. 

So, let the battle for Alexander-Lyle begin. And be ready for the elite players in the next few classes to start deciding they'd like to pair up, especially if one of the package deals turns into a national championship.

 

H/T Eye on College Basketball.

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