Sagemont’s explosive 6-4 wing Prince Ali hopes to follow Ray Allen, Ben Gordon, Kemba Walker and Shabazz Napier as the next great Connecticut guard.
Ali, a four-star 2015 prospect, took the first step to joining that elite UConn fraternity with a oral commitment to the perennial NCAA power Huskies.
The decision to choose the Huskies over Georgetown, Illinois, Florida, Kansas, Syracuse and UCLA, among others, came after Ali watched Napier torch Indiana for 27 points in a victory at Madison Square Garden on Friday night.
“I pictured myself being in the spotlight like Napier and performing like he did on Friday,” Ali said. “My No. 1 goal is to make it to the NBA and UConn is a hall of fame for guards. Coach Kevin Ollie definitely lets his guards play and that played a huge part in my decision.”
Whether driving by opponents with a lightning quick first step or exploding to the basket for his signature tomahawk dunk, the Bronx-born Ali has become one of the biggest draws for his New York City playground flair.
Ali averaged 16.5 points for Pines Charter in a breakout sophomore season and will most likely be Sagemont’s main offensive option as the Lions chase the Class 3A state title.
ESPN basketball recruiting coordinator Reggie Rankin, who has scouted Ali several times during the AAU season, believes Ali has the skills to be the next difference-making guard for UConn.
“I really think Ali is a good system fit for the Huskies,” Rankin said. “He will excel in transition, is a good playmaker as he slashes to score and passes with accuracy at high speeds. He will also be able to successfully defend multiple perimeter positions. “He competes at a high level and is only scratching the surface on how good he will become.”
Kanisha Battle scored 28 points, including four three-pointers, and had seven assists as undefeated Zion Lutheran rolled past Jupiter Christian, 83-29.
Brianna Battle added 21 points for Zion, including four three-pointers, and recorded six steals, and Tyesha Battle scored 15 points, including one three-pointer.
The three Battle sisters have been unstoppable this season.
“They are very fast athletes. They can run the whole court non-stop from first to last quarter. They push the ball, and press the whole game,” said Lions coach Tony Ilini.
Forward Brianna Litt grabbed eight rebounds for Zion.
“She’s a great defensive player and is averaging six to eight points a game,” Ilini said.
The Lions are averaging 10 three-pointers per game and second in the county with a 6-0 record. However, the hard work will continue. They take on Coral Springs at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Zion Lutheran 83, Jupiter Christian 29: K. Battle 28, B. Battle 21, T. Battle 15. JC: Paulis 11. Rebounds: Litt 8. Steals: B. Battle 6. Assists : K. Battle 7. Three-pointers: B. Battle 4, K. Battle 4, T. Battle 1. ZL 6-0.
Pine Crest 3 Chaminade-Madonna 2: Jordyn Elliott 1 goal. Autumn Clark 1 goal. Karly Simson 1 goal. PC 8-2-2.
Douglas 2, Monarch 0: Kelly Field 1 goal, assist. Vanessa Aguello 1 goal, assist. DOU 8-1-2.
Pines Charter 2, West Broward 1: Courtney Zaher 1 goal. Cheyanne Westlake-Hart 1 goal. PC 6-3-1.
Westminster Christian 6, Somerset Academy 0: Joseph Alamo 3 goals. James Barrios 1 goal, 3 assists. Ransom Reed 1 goal. Elijah Medder 1 assist. Trevor Victoria 1 goal. WC 6-3-1.