Ali Sow(RheinStars) Remembers Phil Scrubb Being The First NBA Caliber Player Watching Up Close At Home

Ali Sow (185-PG-1998, college: Laurier) is a 23 year old 185cm guard playing his rookie season for German pro B team RheinStras Cologne. He is leading the German Pro B in scoring with 26,7ppg, 5,5rpg, 2,8apg and 2,0spg. He got his first taste of pro experience playing with the Saskatchewan Rattlers (CEBL) in the summer of 2022. He began his basketball career with Merivale high school and also played with Ottawa Next Level. He then had a illustrious career at Laurier University (CIS) where he never averaged less than 17,0ppg in a season. In his other 3 seasons he twice averaged 24,0ppg and once 27,0ppg. He spoke to about basketball.

Thanks Ali for talking to Congrats on signing with German Pro B team RheinStars Cologne. What do you know in general about the country Germany and basketball? In the last 10 years more and more Canadians have played in German leagues.

Thank you! I feel as though the basketball game in Canada is very similar to the pace that is played in Germany as well, similar skill sets and play styles. Looking forward to learning more about the city and the people!

What was your first impression of Stephan Baeck in your talks? Did you do some research on him and learn that he won the 1993 European Championships with Germany a feat Dirk Nowitzki never did.

I’ve learned that he’s had a great career and had more than a few championships, so I believe he knows what it takes to win at a very high level.

You’re a guy that surely will make the jump from college ball to the pro’s overseas. What is your biggest goal with your game that you hope to be able to accomplish with Cologne?

I’m very new to the pro level overseas so I try not to have too many expectations, but my goal is to compete and grow my game, try to make myself and my teammates better everyday, and I think it will translate to winning.

You must of heard of your predecessor Vincent Golson who dominated the league. Do you feel some pressure having to fill his shoes?

Of course! I saw what he was able to accomplish here, he’s a great player. I think he’s set the standard and example for how to be a great player and scorer for this team and the league.

You recently got your first professional experience with the Saskatchewan Rattlers (CEBL). What kind of experience was it getting that first pro experience? What did you gain from it?

Experience is always the best teacher, playing with and against really talented players and teams tests you and you can only get better being around that kind of talent and experience.

How beneficial was it seeing how it’s done from veteran Tony Carr who has played at high levels in Europe. Did you have some meaningful chats with him?

Yea, Tony is super skilled, it was cool to get to know him and he’s a guy you can learn from on and off the court. He knows how to win and you just get better being around him.

Let’s talk a little about your game. You’re a 185cm guard that showed explosive scoring qualities in school. If you had to compare your game to an NBA player who would best fit the description?

I think my game is most comparable to Lillard, Garland, guards who play quicker.

You’re a player that can fill the stat sheet without problems. How big is versatility a strength in your game?

Being versatile helps winning, and helped me be better in different situations with different players. I like being able to find success in different systems and situations.

You made a jump in rebounding and assists in your last season at Laurier. How advanced is your court vision and do you believe that you can make the next step as a playmaker?

My goal was to not only be a scorer, but be able to impact the game in different ways, defensively, rebounding and in creating and co-existing with others. I think it has pushed me to be a more complete player and continue to grow my knowledge.

How much is your three pointer still a work in progress? You have shot the ball Ok from outside the last years in Canada, but not great. What do you feel is still the biggest problem with your shot and is it just reps or shot selection or something else?

I have a lot of confidence in my shooting ability, however the stats may be. Shot selection and IQ always grows with experience and picking better spots and times to take certain shots.

You’re a very quick and agile defender What kind of a defender are you now and where do you want to be as a defender in the next years?

I believe I’ve made big strides in my defensive effort, I think this summer was a good test and you learn where to be, how to guard better, faster players. With experience, I hope to be able to be a great two-way player, guarding scorers and being versatile in my position.

On what area’s of your game are you working on most now so you can continue to climb the basketball ladder?

Working on my body, working on being poised and being able to score and create from multiple positions on the court.

You played at Laurier (CIS) from 2017-2022. As a guy that played in Canada, what stories have you heard of Phil Scrubb who played at Carleton a few years before you began play?

I’ve heard a lot of stories of winning of Phil, I used to go summer camps at Carleton being from Ottawa, so I heard and saw how dedicated they were to winning. He’s the first NBA-caliber point guard I was able to watch up close at home.

You reached the OUA semi-finals twice. What was your fondest moment at Laurier?

My fondest memory is to be honest is playing with my brother in pre-season games last year, I know it was short but that really was a dream come true for me.

You had quite a few 40 plus games and many 30 plus point games. Which was your most memorable game at Laurier?

I think my most memorable game, a game people still bring up is our semi-final loss at Western which was a thriller and very fun, but still not a game I like to reminisce about.

How did head coach Justin Serresse groom and prepare you best for a professional career?

Justin has always challenged me as a person and player every year I’ve known him. He’s put me in different positions and challenged me to grow and play and think in different ways that translate to the next level.

Who won a 1-1 in practice you or Ismael Sow?

He will never, ever beat me one-on-one. Love him to death though.

You played twice against Germany at the University games in 2019 splitting. What memories do you have of Germany and how they played?

I remember Germany being a big-size team, having above average height at each position, efficient, physical brand of basketball. It was good to experience that kind of play style early.

Who is the toughest player that you ever faced on the floor so far in your career that reached the NBA?

The toughest are probably Jamal Murray or Nickeil from younger tournaments.

Please name your five best teammates of all-time?

Five best teammates is tough.. Ntore Habimana, Adnan Begovic, Chuder Teny, Vladimir Matovic, Joseph Fo. Gotta add Kemel Archer too.

Please name your NBA Mount Rushmore

MJ, Kobe, Magic, LeBron.

What is your opinion of the neverending debate of who is the greatest of all time Jordan or Lebron?

I used to say LeBron, but Jordan is the greatest player of all time. LeBron is a more complete player in my opinion, Jordan was just greater.

Did you see the sequel to the classic Coming To America? Shouldn’t they have left it alone?

It’s just like the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air to me. Some classics just need to be admired forever.

Thanks Ali for the chat.


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