Photo by © Raymond Carlin III-USA Today

MBB: Baylor Lands Athletic Big

March 5, 2018

Baylor landed its fourth commitment of the 2018 class (fifth if you include Makai Mason) on Monday when  Ibrahim "Ibby" Ali chose the Bears over TCU, Utah, Georgetown, Wake Forest, Syracuse, Nebraska, Tulane and late interest from Arkansas.  I caught up with Terrell Curtis, Ali's father, on his recruitment and why he chose the Bears.  


Terrell says that the relationships built with Baylor and their development and use of bigs was the key determining factor in why Ali committed to Scott Drew and his staff.  They were impressed with the plan laid out by Coach Peterson for player development.  

Curtis said his son is an extremely hard worker who can be molded into a dominant force inside.  The 6-10, 240-pound "Ibby" sports a 7-4 wingspan, has only been playing the game for 4 years, and is showing remarkable improvements each year.  This past year, he averaged roughly 10 points, 10 rebounds and 4 blocks.  One of his strengths is that he has a soft touch on a mid-range jumper and hitting over 80 percent of his shots from the foul line.  

Curtis joked that Ali is a tough one to ask on comparisons to other players because he tends to be overly critical about what Ali needs to improve on at times, but he pointed out that one of his trainers said he saw a young Serge Ibaka in his game.  

When Ali got the word that he would be a full academic qualifier in recent months, schools started showing up at Maumelle High School in the Little Rock area.  Nebraska and Baylor were two of the first schools to recruit Ali hard.  Schools like Syracuse, Georgetown, Utah, TCU and Arkansas showed interest late but Ali had decided to give his commitment to the Bears.  

When asked how Ibby does keeping his hands high and active, his dad said that this is a constant focus.  They make sure his defensive stance always includes his arms above his elbows and they realize this is the key to him being such an effective shot blocker.  

Ali wants to study engineering or cyber security at Baylor and told Drew, "I'm coming here to help you win a national championship."  He is excited about the opportunity to compete, grow and learn at Baylor and will be at school for the summer school sessions that start after Memorial Day.  

Former Bear AJ Walton and his family had a key role in helping recruit Ibby Ali to Baylor.  

Discussion from...

MBB: Baylor Lands Athletic Big

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Ashley Hodge
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2018 class plus Yale grad transfer Makai Mason
Ashley Hodge
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I watched his team play Cy Falls and don't remember much other that he was big. Played D and quiet on offense. Of course, years ago I saw Thabeet at the same venue. Thabeet had little offense and was so big and raw. Thabeet actually played AAU ball after his senior season to gain experience and garner interest. He improved in 3-4 months to where UCONN offered him. My point is that athleticism, bulk, and length is always a take.

I thought sophomore Chris Moore of West Memphis, AR was worth keeping an eye on from that holiday tourney.
Thankful Bear
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Thanks AJ for your help! Love that a former player is still invested in the program.
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I really love AJ for his continuing support, great defensive player and a wonderful ambassador!!!
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