Mick Cronin compares Akron basketball’s Ali Ali to NBA great Durant

PORTLAND – Ali Ali is only a sophomore, but the University of Akron Zips forward had his name mentioned in the same breath with Kevin Durant Wednesday.

UCLA coach Mick Cronin, whose fourth-seeded Bruins (25-7) take on 13th-seeded UA (24-9) at 9:50 pm Thursday in a first-round NCAA East Regional game at the Moda Center, said Ali jumps out on film.

“They’ve got a go-to forward that can make shots over people, he makes real shots. He’s playing unbelievably well, ”Cronin said of Ali.

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“You don’t see a lot of guys on film that can create their own shot in college basketball,” Cronin said. “It’s been 20 years since I’ve been an assistant, but I used to tell coach [Bob] Huggins and coach [Rick] Pitino all the time, it’s a rare time when you’re going to give a scouting report that a guy can make shots where he’s guarded. Most guys need an angle to score. Shooters need to get freed up to make a shot.

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