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Aly Khalifa on Early Pace to Break NCAA Assist-to-Turnover Ratio Record

The BYU big man is passing the ball at a historic mark.

IG: alykhalifa15

After two seasons at Charlotte, Aly Khalifa earned the nickname the “Egyptian Magician” for his slick passing. The 6-foot-11 big man averaged nearly 12 points and 3 assists last season on 38% shooting from deep and transferred to BYU with relatively little national fanfare.

Nearly two months into the 2023-2024 season, Khalifa is indisputably the best passing big man in college basketball (and honestly one of the best in the world) with highlight reel passes and one particularly jaw-dropping statistic. After missing 3 games in November due to a lingering knee issue, Khalifa finally qualifies for NCAA statistical leaders now that he’s played in 75% of BYU’s games.

Khalifa has 34 assists compared to 2 assists on the season for a bonkers 17:1 assist-to-turnover ratio. The next closest player has a 5.82 ratio. How bonkers is that? Assist-to-turnover ratio became an official NCAA stat in 2007-2008. The all-time single-season record is 5.17, held by Iowa State point guard Monte Morris in 2016-2017. It’s still early and Aly will pick up turnovers in Big 12 play, but he’s on an early pace to beat that mark.

Khalifa started the season slow — he played just 5 minutes in BYU’s second game versus SDSU before missing the next 3 in order to rest his knee. The NC State game on Black Friday was his BYU coming out party. After Atiki Ally Atiki was suspended for throwing a punch the night prior versus Arizona State, Khalifa suited up for the NC State game with the expectation he would play only about 5 minutes behind Fousseyni Traore. Fouss went out with an injury early in the game, and Khalifa played 27 minutes on no practice time to help lead BYU to a comeback victory. Aly had 5 assists that game and his only 2 turnovers of the season. Since then, Khalifa has started 6 games and has 25 assists and 0 turnovers.

Aly is the perfect big man for BYU’s offense

BYU’s offense is one of the best in the nation and Khalifa fits the offense perfectly for a few reasons.

First, Aly is just naturally gifted as a passer. “Throwing a guy open” is usually a football term reserved for QBs, but Aly does that as a 6-foot-11 big man operating the offense at the top of the key.

Second, Khalifa is a three-point threat. Although just 6-18 on the season, Aly shot 38% last season and canned 48 threes. He hit three Friday night versus Bellarmine and is starting to rediscover his shooting touch. Since Aly is a threat from distance, he can lead BYU’s offense at the top of the key and allows BYU to play five out, which opens up the paint for cutters.

Third, BYU’s offense has elite shooters. Four players — Jaxson Robinson, Dallin Hall, Noah Waterman, and Trevin Knell — all shoot better than 40% from deep, Spencer Johnson is a career 40% three-point shooter, and Richie Saunders is a capable shooter as well. Not only do those guys make a lot of shots when Aly passes them the ball, but defenders have to play tight on them, which opens up the ability for them to cut hard to the basket and Aly to hit them in an unoccupied paint.

Khalifa is may not be on the national radar now, but he’ll get more national publicity once BYU gets into Big 12 play. Scoring gets most of the highlights, but watching Aly pass is FUN. I may be biased, but he is incredibly entertaining to watch. Teams can watch his passing on film all they want, but no scout team can prepare for the vision and pinpoint accuracy Khalifa has. In a league where BYU won’t have many athletic advantages, Khalifa is the perfect big man for BYU to exploit other advantages with the shooters they have on the roster.

Sit back and watch this highlight reel of all of Aly’s assists from the first month of the season.