Lee Aaliya’s career continues in college basketball in the United States. It has been confirmed through his representative, Alex Saratsis, that the young forward from La Plata, one of the sport’s greatest hopes nationally, will join the Michigan Wolverines to compete in the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) tournament, which could be a step ahead of the NBA in the future.
Aaliya (18 years old) had several proposals from abroad. Even from other American universities and also from basketball in Spain and Italy, but in the end he definitely chose Michigan, where one of his “talent detectors” was looking for a player in his position with the characteristics of a La Plata intern.
As is well known, Aaliya (he is the son of wrestler Musambe Tutu, who was then a member of the popular TV show 100% Lucha) started at Club Sud América in Tolosa and later switched to gymnastics. However, last season he was part of Atenas de Córdoba, with whom he added minutes in the National Basketball League (LNB).
But without a doubt, Lee Aaliya had his big break at the last U19 Basketball World Cup in Hungary with the Argentina national team, which finished fifth in said competition, while the player from La Plata was part of the second ideal team of the World Cup, won by Spain.
In this competition, Aaliya had the following averages in each of the areas: 17.1 points, 9 rebounds, and 2.1 blocks per game. The best performance at the World Cup, played between late June and early July, came in the game in which the national team defeated their Canadian counterpart 106-101 to play their fifth game, where he contributed 31 baskets, dropped 20 rebounds, and had 3 blocks.
There, Lee Aaliya piqued everyone’s interest. As the ESPN chain commented, 50 universities across the United States had their sights set on the American player, but until Michigan emerged, his fate was uncertain, although it was known that his basketball career would continue abroad. He was also called up to Argentina’s senior team by Pablo Prigioni, having previously made a move under the technical direction of Néstor “Che” Garca, but as he found himself in preparation for the repechage of the pre-Olympic Santiago del Estero that later became his, he was excluded from the equipment.
Juwan Antonio Howard, a former NBA player who played 19 seasons in the world’s top professional basketball league, is the coach of the NCAA Division I Michigan Wolverines. The well-experienced coach has an important element in a long roster in Lee Aaliya and hopes he will be a draft player in the future. Although Olivier Nkamhoua and Tarris Reed are expected to be the starting couple of the Big Ten Conference program, La Plata’s scoring prowess, pick-and-roll-based play, and expected development suggest they have a leading role to play in one of the historical universities.
In addition to Lee Aaliya, other Argentine players who will compete in college basketball in the United States are Marcus Adams (Gonzaga), Patricio Bautista Giralt (Albany), Francisco Cáffaro (Santa Clara), Francisco Farabello (Creighton), Santiago Trouet (San Diego), and Pedro Rossi (Minnesota Crookston).