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BYU Basketball Player Preview: Atiki Ally Atiki

NCAA Basketball: Brigham Young at Creighton Steven Branscombe-USA TODAY Sports

Atiki Ally Atiki

Height: 6-10

Weight: 215

Hometown: Mwanza, Tanzania

Previous School: London Basketball Academy (Canada)

Class: Sophomore

Atiki Ally Atiki Player Preview

Atiki came in BYU’s program last year with incredible upside but also was incredibly raw. He had been playing basketball for only a few years and had his senior season was wiped out due to COVID. Prior to BYU, he played less than 30 games of organized basketball in his life.

2021-2022 was supposed to be a year where he could develop in practices and learn the game from the sidelines. Richard Harward and Gavin Baxter went down early, however, and Atiki was thrown into action. There was some growing pains for Atiki, but he performed extremely well considering the circumstances.

Atiki averaged 3 points, 3 boards, and just under 1 block per game over 32 games. He performed his best against some of BYU’s competition, with 4 blocks versus San Francisco’s big frontline and 3 blocks versus St Mary’s while guarding All-WCC big man Matthias Taas. Atiki was learning the game as he went along, but his length and elite athleticism were on display and allowed him to punch above his weight.

At 6-foot-10, Atiki has a 7-foot-3 wingspan and 9-foot-2 standing reach. He posted some eye-popping numbers at BYU’s combine measurements this offseason. Atiki posted a 39” inch standing vertical and 45” max vertical at BYU’s combine tests. To put into perspective how bonkers that is, that max vertical would be the third highest in NBA combine HISTORY. The standing vertical would also be the third highest all-time. The highest max vert is 48 inches by Keon Johnson, who broke the record in 2021. Prior to that it was 45.5 inches. Atiki’s is even more astounding considering he is 6-foot-9. Most guys who jump that high are guards or wings. The two guys ahead of him are 6-foot-5.

Atiki’s vertical numbers at the 2022 combine would’ve been the best by several inches. The highest standing vert was 35.5 inches and the highest max vert was 41.5 inches.

Now in year two, Atiki will have expectations to make another leap and anchor BYU’s backline. BYU is thin up front, so Atiki will need to often play 20+ minutes a night and avoid consistent foul trouble.

Season Expectations: Defensive and Rebounding Anchor

Atiki’s biggest contributions can come via defense and rebounding. He showed his rim protection on numerous occasions last year, now he needs to provide that every game and limit fouls. While I don’t expect him to be an All-Conference player this season, I think he can absolutely be one of the best big man defenders in the WCC.

Offensively, I want to see Atiki more active on the offensive glass and get occasional looks in the pick-and-roll from rim running. He doesn’t need to be a double digit scorer, but if he can create second chance points and putbacks then he will be valuable offensively.

Atiki was a multi-year project when he got to BYU and is already ahead of schedule after being forced into action last year. There’s a reason schools like West Virginia, Oklahoma, and San Diego State offered him and others like Michigan State and Baylor were seriously evaluating him. Atiki has a rare blend of athleticism at his size and all the tools to be a professional basketball player after his college career.

Atiki’s development and size of his next “leap” will in some ways determine BYU’s success. If he continues on the trajectory he’s on and build on a full offseason of development, BYU’s frontline will be able to hold up this year in the WCC.