Ahmed Ali, an accurate passer and shooter who started 24 games for Washington State this past season, is transferring to the University of Hawaii basketball team.
“I feel like a brand-new baby picking this school,” Ali told the Honolulu Star-Advertiser in a Facetime interview. “I’m just excited for this opportunity.”
After two years at a junior college and one at WSU, the 5-foot-11 guard will have two years to play one season. He is seeking a waiver that will enable him to play this season without redshirting, a usual requirement for a player transferring between NCAA Division I schools.
Ali said he chose the ’Bows after “the way they showed me love. I felt wanted. And just the place in general … I feel that will be home for the next year or two.”
Similar to Brocke Stepteau, who completed his UH career in March, Ali can play both guard positions and is skilled on drives and from behind the 3-point arc.
Prior to his lone season at Washington State, Ali was a standout player at Eastern Florida State College. In two seasons with the Titans, he averaged 16.9 points while hitting 42.6 percent of his 3-point shots. He set the EFSC career record with 230 successful 3-pointers. As a Titan sophomore in 2017-18, Ali was named to the National Junior College Athletic Association’s Division I All-America second team after averaging 17.9 points and 4.7 assists while connecting on 40.1 percent of his 3s.
“Ahmed is one of my all-time favorites,” EFSC coach Jeremy Shulman said. “He’s an unbelievable high-character kid. And on the floor, he’s one of the best I’ve ever coached. … He’s a phenomenal passer. He has range up to 30 feet.”
Ali, who was born and reared in Toronto, once scored 103 points in a high school game. He drained 22 3-point shots in that performance, becoming the second Canadian high school player to reach the century-scoring mark.
Ali was an efficient playmaker at Washington State. His assist-to-turnover ratio of 2.9-to-1 was among the best in the Pac 12 last season. He scored a season-high 18 points against USC.
After the Cougars changed head coaches following a loss to Oregon in the Pac-12 Tournament, Ali entered the NCAA transfer portal in April.
Ali will be reunited with 6-5 guard Junior Madut, a former Eastern Florida State teammate. Madut signed with the ’Bows in April. Justin Webster, a 6-3 guard from Hargrave Military Academy in Virginia, and Bernardo Da Silva of Wasatch Academy in Utah accepted scholarship offers from UH in June. Jessiya Villa, a Kahuku High graduate who spent the past two years on a church mission, will be part of this year’s team. Kameron Ng, the Honolulu Star-Advertiser’s 2018-19 player of the year, has joined the ’Bows as a walk-on.