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It's Good to be the Prince

When you have a name straight out of a Disney movie (the second best Disney movie, behind The Sword in the Stone), I am going to pay attention. When you have that kind of name AND you can ball, I am really going to pay attention. When you are named Prince Ali and you commit to UConn, you can expect me to start thinking of clever 140-character witticisms and start preparing myself for horrible Sportscenter jokes.

When you have a name like Prince Ali, it can be hard to live up to the hype. For some reason, we expect more out of players with awesome names. It took Shabazz Napier a few years to live up to his name (if his name had been Ryan Smith I wouldn't have expected as much out of him), and McWisdom Badejo is inevitably cursed to mediocrity. So let's just say the expectation level for someone named "Prince Ali" is rather high.

The good news is, at least as of the first few games of his junior season, he seems to be living up to it.

The district where I coach strongly suggests that we update our players' stats on Maxpreps (one of my five most visited websites, btw, holler). Prince Ali's school in Florida, Sagemont, apparently has no similar suggestion. As a result, I am infuriatingly unable to find out his stats so far this season, but I have a feeling they are absurd, considering he has played games against schools named "Doctor's Charter" and "Scheck Hillel Community School." Those don't sound like basketball powerhouses to me (Hillil lost to Smith Jewish Day School by 20). In fact, that's what makes it so hard to get a read on this kid. His competition varies so wildly that at this point in the season, pre-league play, I can't tell who he is as a player. Anyone can drop 30 against the East Miami School for Blind Girls, but it takes a special kind of player to do it against Montverde...

Here's what we know: Ali is rangy, he's quick, he's an explosive jumper, and he likes to dunk on people as often as is physically possible. Haven't seen much of his jump shot, but from what I've seen, it has the right pieces and looks solid enough to keep him on the floor. Think Jerome Dyson. His athleticism will make him an elite defender when placed in a collegiate system. Ollie will make this kid into a star. I find it absolutely terrifying that he is doing this to people at the beginning of his junior year. He's good. I'm on board. Get ready for horrible SportsCenter puns.