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 verbal 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 past 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.”