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Zips Basketball- Looking Back to 21-22/Looking Forward to 22-23


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45 minutes ago, Blue & Gold said:

This is what I posted on social media

But I'll be more blunt here. This hurts. This hurts for us and for him.  For us it hurts on a personal level in that Groce & Co. gave Ali his only chance and have poured 3 years into developing his game. Now some other program gets to enjoy the fruits of Groce's risk, faith, and labor, while we fans get yet another "what if" scenario.  But more importantly, this hurts for Ali because I think he's gotten woefully bad advice. He would have been a team leader here for the next two years on a young team with fantastic locker room and on-court chemistry, enjoyed a luxuriously long leash from Coach Groce, would have continued to have plays drawn up for him, and would have gotten 40-minutes of PT a game if he wanted.  He was a perfect fit for this culture and for this system.  Good luck getting that anywhere else.

 

 

That post was much more mature than my rejected teenage boy like "I never really liked you anyway!" response. 

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Not specific to Ali, but with BVP and Sears entering also, I wonder how much NIL is playing a factor? Can't imagine our players are getting much, if anything. Maybe we should start a fund...

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1 hour ago, LZIp said:

Not specific to Ali, but with BVP and Sears entering also, I wonder how much NIL is playing a factor? Can't imagine our players are getting much, if anything. Maybe we should start a fund...

 

Per BobcatAttack, one of their fans sat next to Sears' mom during a game. She expressed "concern" over the lack of NIL opportunities for Mark at OU.

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Re: Ali Ali

 

How often did the ball movement die in Ali's hands? He went iso and more often than not it resulted in a turnover or poor shot. 

 

I wouldn't be surprised if this is a mutual departure. I'd imagine Groce was none too happy with Ali's decision to drive instead of calling a timeout against UCLA. And again, his attitude was KSUcks-yellow-pee poor during that 3 game losing streak. 

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After letting this stew for a few more hours, I’ve got a few more thoughts. 
 

All indications so far from people close to the program have told me this is a shocking move, not so much a mutual thing. That could be wrong, but if you just look at the whole Ali-Akron story, you can put 2 + 2 together to understand why this would be shocking. 
 

Reading the tea leaves on the past couple of seasons, it’s easy to see that his attitude isn’t always where it should be. He has also shown to be afraid to shoot at times, while also letting possessions die with a bad turnover, a back down, a poor attempt to draw a foul. Also, he had a ton of technical fouls this year for chirping at the refs and opponents. I’m not saying he’s a bad character guy, but under that façade, there’s certainly quite the ego. I’m thinking ego has a lot to do with this move, and perhaps wanting to be closer to home in Indiana now that one of those programs will give him a shot. 
 

With that said, I wholeheartedly agree with the sentiment that this is BS for a guy to do to a program and staff that found him and gave him a chance. It’s almost like Carry at Duquesne. His only offer, and he’s been given the keys to make this program his. He just didn’t want it for whatever reason. Like I said earlier, it’s just got to be an on to the next one mentality. The Zips still have a top 3 roster in the MAC going into next season. 4/5 starters return along with 3 bench guys and 2 redshirts that all have championships under their belt. 
 

The honeymoon is officially over, and the title defense begins today as far as I’m concerned. #1Akron

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32 minutes ago, Let'sGoZips94 said:

Re: Ali Ali

 

How often did the ball movement die in Ali's hands? He went iso and more often than not it resulted in a turnover or poor shot. 

 

I wouldn't be surprised if this is a mutual departure. I'd imagine Groce was none too happy with Ali's decision to drive instead of calling a timeout against UCLA. And again, his attitude was KSUcks-yellow-pee poor during that 3 game losing streak. 

I'm with you on this one.  There's a reason those fine young men from East Mogadore JUCO called him out in that video.

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I will say I am surprised by the news of Ali leaving. But I did notice that Ali was absent in the UCLA post-game interview. Granted Ali didn't have his best performance and you have to give UCLA some credit for that. But it's the last game of the season and one of your team leaders is back in the locker room? Might mean nothing.

 

 

Edited by Illini Zip
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I was still basking in the afterglow of NCAA tourney qualification and an almost/should - have win. Then this gut punch came around. How could any player reward Groce with telling our coach he deserves better? This is selfish. This is the product of bad advise. This is already yesterday's news. I'm over it and looking forward to what Groce does to fill the spot.

 

Ali will land at a bigger school or one that will supposedly give him more publicity. But will he get better? I doubt it. Groce developed Ali. John tolerated his back-downs, his 15 seconds of dribble-dribble, his turnovers and his immaturity. Why? Because Groce was the best teacher to coach him out of it while also giving him playing time. I don't think Ali will get either at another school. I feel bad for Groce most of all. He was rewarded with ego driven selfishness. 

 

But out of this arises opportunity. Opportunity to put together a better team, one that buys into being a Zip. One that loves teamism and ZeeFence. Our program will continue to get better with better talent, facilities and fans. All Ali wants could have been achieved here. Bad advise leads to bad decisions. Now he will live with it. 

 

Ali can do whatever he wants. So he did. Ali who? I already forgotten.

 

In Groce WeTrust!

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2 hours ago, Let'sGoZips94 said:

Re: Ali Ali

 

How often did the ball movement die in Ali's hands? He went iso and more often than not it resulted in a turnover or poor shot. 

 

I wouldn't be surprised if this is a mutual departure. I'd imagine Groce was none too happy with Ali's decision to drive instead of calling a timeout against UCLA. And again, his attitude was KSUcks-yellow-pee poor during that 3 game losing streak. 

Mutual departure. Come on now 😂

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1 hour ago, Illini Zip said:

I will say I am surprised by the news of Ali leaving. But I did notice that Ali was absent in the UCLA post-game interview. Granted Ali didn't have his best performance and you have to give UCLA some credit for that. But it's the last game of the season and one of your team leaders is back in the locker room? Might mean nothing.

 

 

2 for 10 with 5 points and one rebound doesn't get you on the podium. The guys who played well do. If he thinks he should have been there, that is a problem.

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Ali had his moments but in the UCLA game he was a no show in the 2nd half.  Big players shine in big games and he just faded.  The last shot was terrible and cost us an opportunity to win the game.  He is not a good rebounder and gets pushed around under the basket.   He obviously had an attitude because he did not start in the Northern Illinois game.  He score 20 points in that game and Groce put him back in the starting lineup. 

 

The one thing I disliked about Ali all season is that he would talk to the opposing bench.  I think if he were a high character guy he would stay with Akron.  He needs to put on some muscle and work on his inside game.  I will keep track of where he goes but my prediction is that if he goes to a big program he will come off the bench and average 8-10 points.  We still have a great nucleus of player and I just do not see his transfer as being a major body blow to this program.

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20 minutes ago, ewbrooman1 said:

2 for 10 with 5 points and one rebound doesn't get you on the podium. The guys who played well do. If he thinks he should have been there, that is a problem.

 

I agree with that. But Ali had carried the team in games and this was the season finale. I am just wondering if there is more to it. That's all. 

 

 

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If Ali and his family think that going elsewhere is in his best interests so be it. It's no different really than someone taking what they perceive to be a better job. However, I think he's going to find that being a minor player playing 10 to 20 minutes on a p5 team isn't nearly as rewarding as being a major player on a competitive MAC team for a coach willing to overlook your flaws.

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Last comment about this...we know Groce can bring a player of similar caliber as a replacement (see KJ Walton). Lets just hope he hits this time or our window we thought we had might be shattered before we have a chance to enter. Ali has/had flaws, but he also had/has a high ceiling and the ability to score efficiently at all 3 levels. I don't think we have a proven player on our team that can do that. Big hole.

 

Will be interesting to see how the 2 open schollies are addressed. I'd hope for stretch 4 and wing, but we may have to settle for 2 wings.

Edited by LZIp
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Saw this news as I was headed out the door to get the kids from school yesterday.

 

Initial reaction:  Anger/disgust/disappointment.

 

Later reaction:  Same.  Look, as fans of this program it is perfectly fine to be angry and disappointed.  It would be odd to not feel this way on some level. 

 

We watched these guys win a MAC Championship.  We watched them come within a hair of knocking of UCLA in the tournament.  We went into the offseason with a championship team with no seniors that should've been returning EVERYONE.  Optimism was through the roof. 

 

This is a gut punch.  We're losing a guy that provided 20% of our scoring and assists in 21-22, and who many of us were really looking forward to watching develop over the next couple years.  To say it's "no big deal" or fabricate that it's a mutual decision is silly.

 

Now, we can have faith that the coaching staff will find an adequate or even better replacement.  The transfer portal is absolutely brimming with talent right now.  I'm sure the staff is working hard to fill those two spots.

 

The bottom line is that we went from certain that we had a MAC-championship-level team to...a little uncertainty, considering the lack of depth.  Let's hope that Tavari Johnson and Prather Jr and whomever fills those two open schollies fully buys into the #1Akron culture.  Find me a 6'7" LCJ!

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Adding to my wordy post above, I think the biggest disappointment for me is that we're really going to see a drastic diminishing count of 4-year guys that you grow to love and be proud of as a fan/alumnus.  I'm hoping once the post-COVID era passes, that we'll see a lot less use of the portal, but with NIL (and rumors of it affecting mid-major players' decisions to stay with their program). However, I'm less optimistic by the day.

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11 minutes ago, RowdyZip said:

Adding to my wordy post above, I think the biggest disappointment for me is that we're really going to see a drastic diminishing count of 4-year guys that you grow to love and be proud of as a fan/alumnus.  I'm hoping once the post-COVID era passes, that we'll see a lot less use of the portal, but with NIL (and rumors of it affecting mid-major players' decisions to stay with their program). However, I'm less optimistic by the day.

 

Good call.  I miss getting to know the kids through 4 years of watching them grow up in a program.

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