clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Transfer Profile: Ali Ali

The forward so nice they named him twice should be an impact player for Butler

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament First Round-Akron vs UCLA Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Ali Ali

Height: 6-8

Former School: Akron

New School: Butler

Years Remaining: Two

Recruiting Ranking: Unranked

2021-22 Stats: 13.9 ppg/2.9 rpg/2.5 apg/34.2 mpg; 46.0%/40.7%/72.2%

Ali Ali didn’t get much attention coming out of high school. It was easy not to notice him through two years at Akron, too. As a freshman, Ali made 11 starts but managed just 35 total points. He took a step forward as a sophomore, starting all 23 games, but finished fourth on the Zips in scoring. It wasn’t until his junior year that Ali gained the attention of the power conferences.

As a junior, Ali untapped his ability as a scorer, finishing the year averaging 13.9 points per game. Not only did Ali emerge as Akron’s leading scorer, but he also became their most efficient 3-point shooter, hitting over 40 percent of his looks. He was named to the All-MAC Second team and the All-MAC Tourney team, averaging 15.9 points while leading the Zips to a MAC Tournament championship.

Ali opted to transfer from Akron back to his home state of Indiana, joining the Butler Bulldogs and new coach Thad Matta.

What’s His Game?

Ali possesses a rare blend of size and skill. Whether you want to call him a wing forward or a stretch four, Ali has guard skill at forward size and is most comfortable playing away from the rim.

He scored at all three levels last year, but 3-point shooting is where he stood out. Ali knocked down 40.7 percent of his deep shots on 118 attempts, impressive results for any player.

Ali has great feel on offense. He moves well off the ball and spaces the floor well, creating open looks for himself and others.

That feel helps him as a passer as well, where he led the Zips in assists last year.

Ali uses his size well at the basket, where he hit nearly 60 percent of his shots last season. The length shows up in his finishing ability, and his dribbling skill is apparent when he works downhill.

Defensively, Ali is on the thinner side, and it showed up at times. How he handles Big East sized forwards will be something to watch. He has also never been a particularly strong rebounder. Development of his skill and size down low will be crucial for his success at Butler on the defensive end.

What’s His Role?

Ali should be a starter in the 4 slot for Butler. With Manny Bates and Jalen Thomas manning the center spot, Ali will be protected a bit on the defensive end. Offensively, he’ll be able to contribute both as a playmaker and a scorer. Ali should lift the burden on Butler’s guards and allow them to run a diverse offense with multiple initiators. He and Hunter should also be effective at finding space off the ball and hitting shots from deep.

With two years of eligibility remaining, Ali could be a two-year starter for Thad Matta. He should at least be able to replace the departing Bryce Golden, with athletic upside to become a Big East star.