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Ali Decision Revisited


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When Ali Ali entered the transfer portal I posted that I doubted he would find an overall better situation than UA offered. I decided to revisit my opinion by rating all the issues that I could imagine which go into a decision to enter the portal. For those of you who find my posts the highlight of your day (no one that I know of) I"ll cut to it. I believe Ali bettered his situation and I was wrong. Here's how I rated the issues to transfer.

 

  • Conference/Competition - Better, he's in the Big East
  • Facility - Better, Hinkle Fieldhouse, capacity 9,200, great history, avid fans
  • Coaching - Equal to Worse, Groce sought Ali out, Matta is more focused on rebuilding and has no commitment to him. He's a "filler" for Matta
  • Academics (as if Athletes care) - Better, Butler is a fine private school
  • Proximity to Home - Better, Family can easily get to every home game
  •  Playing Time - Worse, Matta will not give him 31 minutes per game
  • Team Chemistry - Same, Ali will enjoy wherever he is. He doesn't build chemistry , but he's not a cancer in the locker room either
  • NCAA Playoffs - Worse, Butler is a dumpster fire and will take a while to rebuild
  • NIL - Probably Better, Butler has the attention of the Indianapolis market. More opportunities will be there vs Akron
  • Pressure to Perform - Greater at Butler. He will be expected to contribute now. There will be no excuse to evaporate like against UCLA
  • Girlfriend - I have no idea if she is transferring to Butler. If so it's better for him
  • Post Graduate Opportunities - Better, He is an Indiana guy playing at an Indiana school. The alumni/business network there will be better for him. 

 

That's how I see it. You may not agree. You may know better. But today was a slow day so this filled some time. Can't wait for football, soccer and basketball. Go Zips!

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Just now, NWAkron said:

I thought you said you were wrong about him bettering is situation?  Sounds like mostly positives.  Maybe he simply didn't like Akron, the city, the school, etc.

Yeah, I did say he would not find a better situation. I was wrong. Butler is better for him if he's willing to work. I think he left because he thought he could do better. He did.

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I guess it all depends on his priorities.  I think the move results in him playing a lesser role and not being a focus of the offense and he leaves behind friends.  It appeared that he and Tribble were very close.  However, he's closer to home and playing in a real basketball conference.  Whatever the reasoning, I wish him well but since he's no longer a Zip I don't much care where he goes from here.

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15 minutes ago, clarkwgriswold said:

…since he's no longer a Zip I don't much care where he goes from here.

Same. I like saying “Once a Zip always a Zip,” but that is always in reference to graduates or to those who transfer because they want to transfer down due to lack of PT at this level. It does not apply to someone who was supposed to be a cornerstone of the team going forward and decides to bolt.

 

Don't let the door hit you…

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I cheer for the names on the front of the jerseys, not the back. I hold no ill will against Ali, but I lost interest in him the second he entered the portal. To steal a line by Clark Gable in Gone With the Wind "frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn."

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1 hour ago, clarkwgriswold said:

I guess it all depends on his priorities.  I think the move results in him playing a lesser role and not being a focus of the offense and he leaves behind friends.  It appeared that he and Tribble were very close.  However, he's closer to home and playing in a real basketball conference.  Whatever the reasoning, I wish him well but since he's no longer a Zip I don't much care where he goes from here.

Maybe he just wasn't that into us.

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I wish Ali the best of luck and I understand his desire to play closer to home.  If he works on his game, he could be a good Big East player.  However, my prediction is the MAC championship and the NCAA game against UCLA will be the highlight of his college career.  Although Ali was our leading scorer, he also led the team in minutes and shots.  Freeman actually made 10 more baskets with 100 less shots.  Unless he improves his game, I just don't see him leading his new team in minutes or shots attempted and he will average less than 10 points per game. 

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This does make you appreciate Kwan's mom. Several years after her son graduated still feels like she's a member of the Zips "family." Guys like Kwan Cheatham, Dru Joyce, Joe Jakubik, Eric McLaughlin, Len Paul, Zeke Marshall, Bruce Weinkein ...they're "Zips for Life."

 

A guy that feels he's too good for the Zips program, and bolts it rather than elevates it, is just a ship we crossed in the night. Next man up...

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I like the transfer portal. It gives freedom to people. The thing about freedom is it allows a person to make both good and bad decisions then hopefully learn from them. We learn more from failure than success.  There are a lot of young people who are going to learn some rough lessons over the next 4-5 years until this fad has less importance.

 

In my opinion, Ali has made a bad decision. History shows he's an above average MAC player, not great. Those of us old enough realize he isn't close to some of the great Zips or MAC players of the past 30-35 years. The Big East is a very good league and much better than the MAC from talent to coaching to player size.  Players have to be on the top of their game every night and he really isn't that guy. He'll have some good games, but not be close to being a difference maker. His potential is much better at Akron. I'm not certain what professional league is going to be impressed by a mid level player at a mid level Big East school....maybe someone could help me out with that?.?. The NBA is extremely difficult to get in because there are so few players and anyone who is any good typically doesn't waste much time in college. There are some really good college basketball players playing in the NBA D League and Ali isn't at that level. Playing in Europe in a cigarette smoked filled arena?  Maybe.

 

Ali is gone...whatever. Guys like him can be replaced.

Edited by GP1
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1 hour ago, Captain Kangaroo said:

This does make you appreciate Kwan's mom. Several years after her son graduated still feels like she's a member of the Zips "family." Guys like Kwan Cheatham, Dru Joyce, Joe Jakubik, Eic McLaughlin, Len Paul, Zeke Marshall, Bruce Weinkein ...they're "Zips for Life."

 

A guy that feels he's too good for the Zips program, and bolts it rather than elevates it, is just a ship we crossed in the night. Next man up...

Great point!  On occasion I will check on our former players and share their successes.

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I'd say his career arc will be most comparable to that of Utomi. Both were wings who were asked to play as an undersized 4. They both developed into being efficient long-range scorers who could create their own shot, but weren't great at creating shots for their teammates. 

 

Utomi transferred to what had been the previous season a 16-17 (8-10) USC season. He started the season as the 6th or 7th man, but played his way into the starting lineup. He saw a decrease role, but he was still a key piece on a team that would have made the tournament had the tournament not been cancelled. Ali similarly will have to accept a role of playing 25-28 minutes a night, but him being the 3rd or 4th scoring option is probably what's best for him. All throughout the season he seemed to play his worst in crunch time situations where he felt he had to shoulder the load. He's at his best when he's not asked to do too much and instead takes what's given to him.

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44 minutes ago, kreed5120 said:

I'd say his career arc will be most comparable to that of Utomi. Both were wings who were asked to play as an undersized 4. They both developed into being efficient long-range scorers who could create their own shot, but weren't great at creating shots for their teammates. 

 

Utomi transferred to what had been the previous season a 16-17 (8-10) USC season. He started the season as the 6th or 7th man, but played his way into the starting lineup. He saw a decrease role, but he was still a key piece on a team that would have made the tournament had the tournament not been cancelled. Ali similarly will have to accept a role of playing 25-28 minutes a night, but him being the 3rd or 4th scoring option is probably what's best for him. All throughout the season he seemed to play his worst in crunch time situations where he felt he had to shoulder the load. He's at his best when he's not asked to do too much and instead takes what's given to him.

Good assessment.

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17 hours ago, 72 Roo said:

 

  • NIL - Probably Better, Butler has the attention of the Indianapolis market. More opportunities will be there vs Akron

Is there a single student-athlete at The University of Akron who receives any NIL compensation?  I've never heard of any.

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21 hours ago, Z.I.P. said:

Is there a single student-athlete at The University of Akron who receives any NIL compensation?  I've never heard of any.

Oddly, I remember Aziz in some type of print ad for a public agency.  I think it was the Summit County ADM. 

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On 4/13/2022 at 8:43 AM, GP1 said:

His potential is much better at Akron. I'm not certain what professional league is going to be impressed by a mid level player at a mid level Big East school....maybe someone could help me out with that?.?.

I think the answer to that is, "he doesn't think of himself as a mid-level player."  I think any player worthy of playing time needs to think of himself as, at very least, having a very high ceiling.  So I don't begrudge him that. Also, while Butler sucked last year and I can't be arsed to look into how good or not they stand to be next year, the Big East tends to be bunched up, and so going from 6-14 in conference to, say, 11-9 and on the bubble is probably not out of the question. Finally, while we have misgivings about Ali (especially now that he's gone), statheads and analytic nerds tend to love his game. Maybe there's something to that, and maybe the "actually, he's not that good" camp is right, but again, you can't blame him for believing in himself.

For better or worse, this is the transfer portal reality now, and this is gonna happen from time to time (and hopefully not more frequently than that) with our good players. I for one am not gonna try to take such transfers personally as a Zip fan (although I would be f***ing heartbroken if Enrique left, I would try not to be ANGRY). 

I hope that Groce and his staff respond to the advent and popularity of the transfer portal by scouting low-major transfer portal diamonds-in-the-rough thoroughly, and well. If any of our players feel like Butler is a step up, well then, maybe we are a step up from Nebraska-Omaha, or whoever. Or even D2 (Max Strus went from D2 Lewis (Ill.) to DePaul to the Miami Heat).

Edited by mrelegazna
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On 4/12/2022 at 9:03 PM, 72 Roo said:

Yeah, I did say he would not find a better situation. I was wrong. Butler is better for him if he's willing to work. I think he left because he thought he could do better. He did.

 

That was a very diplomatic response 72. I probably would have questioned his reading comprehension.

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2 hours ago, Zipmeister said:

 

That was a very diplomatic response 72. I probably would have questioned his reading comprehension.

I'm trying to be a nicer, kinder 72. It's a constant battle. Being a smart ass is so much more fun.

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