Ali the calm center in the GSU maelstrom

Amidst all the helter-skelter of Georgia State’s offense and defense is the serenity of Jihad Ali.

As bodies fly up and down the court in coach Ron Hunter’s up-tempo offense and hyper-aggressive matchup zone defenses, Ali’s face rarely changes expression.

He’s moved from the starting lineup, to the bench, and back to the starting lineup and his production has remained constant.

He’s averaging 12.2 points, second on the team, and 5.1 rebounds per game, tied for second, as the Panthers play in the last in a brutal three-game stretch against Georgia Mason (11-4, 3-0) on Saturday. Another win, the team’s 12th consecutive, would stamp the Panthers (11-3, 3-0) as the team to beat in the CAA this season.

Will Ali’s expression change?

“I try to get him to talk louder,” Hunter said. “He’s very low-key, very intellingent. He’s the opposite of Ron Hunter.”

Ali is the go-to presence for a team that has two consistent jump-shooters: and sophomore Devonta White. When the team is in a drought, Ali usually gets the ball.

“Just being a senior, the other guys might look at me like a leader,” he said. “We just stay focused and it feeds to the younger guys.”

Georgia State led VCU 48-39 in the second half on Wednesday, only to see the Rams cut the lead to 48-44 over the next two minutes. A minute later, after three minutes with no points for the Panthers, Ali hit a 3-pointer to push the lead to 51-44.

Ali is hitting 41.7 percent of his shots, and 35.5 percent of his 3-pointers. But he’s more than just a jump-shooter. He’s skilled on the block and a sneaky good rebounder who often finds creases in defenses to pull down rebounds and hit putbacks.

“We have excellent points guards who give me the ball when I can score and operate,” Ali said. “[Eric] Buckner does an excellent job of [helping] our shooters. It’s more of a team effort.”

About George Mason:

Most Atlanta folks know that the Patriots are led by former Georgia Tech coach Paul Hewitt. They were picked in the preseason to finish second in the CAA, and may have been picked to finish first if not for the disruptions that coaching changes sometimes cause.

GMU defeated Old Dominion 63-54 in Norfolk on Thursday. ODU is a tough place to play, so that was an impressive win for Hewitt and his team.

The Patriots’ fortunes hinge on Ryan Pearson, who leads the team with 18.7 points per game. GMU leads the CAA with 71.1 points per game, less than a point more than the Panthers.

Though I’m a stat-wonk, I’ll simply link to the CAA site if you want to go over more of that data.

– Doug Roberson, AJC. Please follow me on twitter @ajcgsu

And here’s a blog from yesterday.

35 comments Add your comment

Too Funny

January 6th, 2012
10:43 am

Hail Southern….
All you have in Statesboro is a football team that scored 7 points against North Dakota State.
Your school has no post graduate programs worth a crap, your basketball team just lost by 20 points to state, oh yeah how’s that law school coming along….oh yeah you don’t have one. 30 years and still no hope of moving to the FBS. Not sure why when smaller schools with smaller enrollments such as Boise State have made the move in a shorter time span….. I guess mediocrity suits you just fine. Why are you even responding to this blog shouldn’t you be watching real world or auditioning to be part of the cast. Again …students who choose state over southern choose a better education over entertainment.

PantherCJ

January 6th, 2012
10:44 am

Ali is the man.

GSU Eagle

January 6th, 2012
10:50 am

I am proud of GSU Eagle GUS.
We are number one!!

Too Funny

January 6th, 2012
10:56 am

To GSU Eagle…. number one at what?
Why do you and your minions think you are entitled to be number one?
I saw you lose in the playoffs to North Dakota so it isn’t football…so the question remains with your comment…number one at what?

GSU Bleed Blue

January 6th, 2012
11:03 am

CRH will be on the Barnhart and Durham show on 790 the zone today

Panthersville.com

January 6th, 2012
11:05 am

Looking forward to going up against Hewitt.

Stevie Richards

January 6th, 2012
11:09 am

Aliiiii, Ali, Ali, Aliiiii

Beat Mason!!!

GStateBen

January 6th, 2012
11:11 am

At 11:30am. Panther Fans will be tuning in.

HootieJohnson

January 6th, 2012
11:24 am

Great to have this senior leadership on the squad this year. Can’t wait to see big things from them all year.

Let’s make it 12 against Mason and Hewitt.

GSWHAT!!!

January 6th, 2012
11:26 am

Ali Bomaye!
Ali Bomaye!
Ali Bomaye!
Ali Bomaye!
Ali Bomaye!
Ali Bomaye!
Ali Bomaye!

GSU05Grad

January 6th, 2012
12:02 pm

Ali is really fun to watch because he always seems so calm and collected, and really helps spark this team when they are in a slump.

He needs to have a big time game on Saturday so that we can really set ourselves as the the top team in the CAA coming into the next stretch of games.

Please stop feeding the Southern trolls…seriously

GSU05Grad

January 6th, 2012
12:05 pm

I really enjoy watching Ali play because he seems so calm and collected, and always seem to spark the team when they seem down.

I hope that we come through with a big win over Mason and then truly set us at the top spot of the CAA!

Stop feeding the Southern trolls…seriously

Panama

January 6th, 2012
12:25 pm

Ali Ali Ali Ali…Ali..Ali

Nick Bray

January 6th, 2012
12:30 pm

Ali is the calm before during and after the storm. He has been an pleasure to watch and get to know over the years. He is a stone cold killer! #BeatGMU #FearTheBowTie

GSUAlumBaseball81

January 6th, 2012
12:58 pm

GO PANTHERS!!! Go Ali!!! Take it to Hewitt’s bunch on Saturday! Smoke them like the others with your awesome DEFENSE!

Sluggo

January 6th, 2012
1:02 pm

Way to go Ali, keep knocking down big buckets. This is the last of a tough 3-game stretch and the Panthers have more than held their own. GMU is a turnover prone team. Let’s take advantage and play Georgia State basketball.

GSU2012

January 6th, 2012
1:26 pm

Ali, you’re the man! Keep up the awesome work and continue to make your school proud! Remind Hewitt why he left Atlanta!!!!!!

GSU 2011 Alumni

January 6th, 2012
1:30 pm

I am proud of my GSU Panther

RidgeRunner

January 6th, 2012
1:57 pm

Great article

G S U

January 6th, 2012
2:48 pm

FIRE BILL CURRY!!!

GSUBB

January 6th, 2012
3:36 pm

Here is a little deeper looks at possible prospects and commits:

http://www.panthertalk.com/georgia-state-football-recruiting-board/

GSUBB

January 6th, 2012
3:37 pm

Opps wrong blog.

hammer22

January 6th, 2012
3:39 pm

Thanks for the writeup

hammer22

January 6th, 2012
3:55 pm

Thanks for the write up.

CEEGSU

January 6th, 2012
3:59 pm

GO HADIIIIII :) )

STATEment

January 6th, 2012
5:14 pm

Loving the coverage. Ali has been fun to watch over the years. Glad to see him coming into his own. Saturday is going to be a sloppy night for me if we can pull of a win at GMU! Reguardless, I couldn’t be more happy with this team! At the start of the season I would have been thrilled with winning 1 of 3 during this stretch, but now having 2 and a legit shot at 3 of 3! ooooooooo yeah.

Alumnus4Life

January 6th, 2012
9:20 pm

John Bond is a JOKE!!!! TOO many good OC’s out there to put up with this trash. Thompson should be gone as well.

GSU05Grad

January 6th, 2012
10:29 pm

If any of you guys wanna talk football, then go to Panther Talk, otherwise keep it on track with the basketball team because they are the one’s that truly deserve our attention.

Alumnus4Life

January 7th, 2012
10:44 am

FIRE BOND!!!

Great, another attorney

January 7th, 2012
11:56 am

Too, Georgia Southern does not have or need a law school, nor do we need another law school in this state. The folks in Statesboro are proud of their excellent and emerging engineering program. Also, the average SAT of entering freshman at Southern is always higher than the same results at State. Comparable for sure, but higher.

Sports Fan

January 7th, 2012
12:29 pm

Too Funny and Great another attorney……GSU is Georgia State not Georgia Southern! Try to keep up……

Great, another attorney

January 7th, 2012
12:40 pm

Sporty…agree that GSU is Georgia State…. Ga Southern (or either school) is not referred to as GSU anywhere in my post…Try to read!

GSU 78

January 7th, 2012
12:49 pm

Cannot believe that Southern folks keep showing up here. First, congrats to their football team. Yes, you got us there, but in all other areas, there is no comparison. What seems to upset southern folks is the fact that they have a geographic designation in their name. While Georgia State is the designated a “State” University, Southern carries a compass point in its name. It is hard to be considered a major player when your name hinders you. I have nothing against Southern. It serves its purpose in providing a good education for those who failed to get into our two top schools, UGA or Tech.

Sports Fan

January 7th, 2012
3:17 pm

Didn’t say GSU was referenced in your post but why would someone post about Ga Southern on a GSU blog with nothing referencing GSU.

itsmeagain

January 7th, 2012
3:24 pm

Georgia southern isn’t relevant in anything. They aren’t the best football team, not even on the FCS level, and our cheerleaders could play basketball better than they can. Sorry but southern is and always will be our little sisters.