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Cliff Alexander Hoping NBA Dreams Will Come True Again

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Once a top recruit and Blazers bench player, he’s now fighting for an NBA call-up in the G-League.

NBA: Orlando Magic-Media Day Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The last time Cliff Alexander appeared in a game during the NBA’s regular season was on Nov. 11, 2015, with the Portland Trail Blazers. He finished out that 2015-16 season with Portland before being waived in the summer. Since, he’s bounced around the league, and now finds himself fighting for his NBA career in the G-League, as Jon Greenberg of The Athletic (subscription required) details:

Playing for the farm team of the Milwaukee Bucks, Alexander is averaging 16.2 points and 6.6 rebounds in 23.2 minutes per game, waiting for a call that might never come. He’s played for four different G League team in three seasons.

“It’s a grind,” he said after sitting out a home loss to the Ft. Wayne Mad Ants with a sprained right ankle. “I’m enjoying it, of course, but it’s definitely a grind. I’m trying to work my butt off to get back. There’s a lot of guys out there they’re looking at, a bunch of new guys coming in. So it’s pretty hard man.”

Alexander was ranked the No. 3 overall recruit in the 2014 draft class by ESPN. Several of his top-ranked peers — Myles Turner, Karl-Anthony Towns, Devin Booker, D’Angelo Russell, Kelly Oubre Jr. — have gone on to regular NBA minutes and even stardom.

The forward never fulfilled his high school hype, registering modest numbers at Kansas and going undrafted. With the NBA dream seeming unlikely, he’s now just focused on providing for his family:

If he doesn’t get some NBA interest soon, he’ll be off to Europe, where a player with his skills can earn a solid income for a decade or more.

“As of now, yeah I’ll go over there,” he said. “For real it’s my job right now. It’s how I make my money. I’ve got to feed my family. Not making enough money being down here.”

With a subscription to The Athletic, you can read the rest of Greenberg’s piece here.