Ohio State in good standing with rising 2024 wing Amier Ali

Adam Jardy
The Columbus Dispatch
Ohio State coach Chris Holtmann would like to add Amier Ali to his 2024 recruiting class.

Amier Ali plays high school basketball in Florida. If you go to the roster page for Montverde Academy, the 6-foot-7, 175-pound forward is listed as a Philadelphia native.

Yes, Ali was born in the City of Brotherly Love. But make no mistake about it: Ali is a Columbus kid. More specifically, a Gahanna native, one who moved to town when he was 5 years old and remained until prep schools started calling about high school.

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Now, he’s an ascending member of the 2024 recruiting class who holds an Ohio State scholarship offer.

“The whole community is behind him,” his father, Mohamed Ali, said. “We’re immigrants. I’m first generation. We’ve got over 100,000 Somalis in Columbus and the whole community is behind him.”

What lies in front of him is an ascent in the national recruiting rankings following his sophomore season at Montverde. After eighth grade, Ali began his high school career at the Spring Creek Academy in Plano, Texas, where he started to catch the attention of college coaches. Among them was Tony Skinn, who convinced the Buckeyes to offer Ali during his freshman season.

His father, founder of the Columbus-based Ohio Transit Company, relocated to the Dallas area for what would be a temporary stop. After one season, Ali received interest from the school he told his dad was special: Montverde.

“He’s like, ‘Dad, this is my dream school. There’s no way we can turn this down,’ ” Mohamed said.

Ali was one of two sophomores on an 11-person roster featuring six seniors and three juniors. Five of those seniors were ranked among the top 30 national recruits according to 247Sports.com, which left playing time hard to come by for the younger end of the roster.

Ali’s father said the year served his son well and that, as he prepared for spring AAU basketball, he told his dad to watch out.

“He looked me in the eyes and said, ‘AAU’s in trouble. Watch. Just watch my first session, what’s gonna happen,’ ” Mohamed said. “Whatever he said and believed in turned out to be true.”

In early April, Ali then starred while playing in the Nike EYBL session in Orlando. Kansas, Kentucky, Memphis and multiple others have now offered, while Ohio State, Virginia Tech, LSU and Wake Forest had done so before his sophomore year got underway. Last summer, Ali took an unofficial visit to Ohio State.

In a Thursday update to its rankings, ESPN listed Ali as the No. 26 national recruit. 247Sports ranks him 34th nationally.

“He killed the first session in Orlando and people didn’t know Amier,” his father said. “The top schools knew Amier, but they didn’t know the raw talent. He exploded, man, that weekend. All the college coaches were there and everybody tuned in and was like, ‘Wow, where is this kid coming from?’ From there, he’s a top 2024 prospect right now in the country. Everybody and their coach is calling me.”

Ali does not yet have a list of favorite schools or a timetable for when he hopes to make a decision. The coming months figure to be significant as more schools see him play, and summer visits to schools could be on the calendar.

Asked what they are looking for in a school, Ali’s father said, “There has to be a relationship. This is a bright kid, a very special kid. He’s not one of those ordinary basketball players. There’s a whole community behind this guy. We try to make sure the community, these immigrants who came to this country, who come from war and so many difficult situations, to make them feel like, hey, I can do this. If Amier can do it, I can do it."

“That’s one of the things, a relationship for the community, the school putting him out there to showcase his talent."

When it does come time to make a list of schools, though, his father said one school will be on it.

“I told the coaches, Ohio State is on his radar,” Mohamed said. “That’s his home. That’s one of his top schools. Ohio State’s definitely one of his choices.”

ajardy@dispatch.com

@AdamJardy

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