Welcome to A10 Talk’s Top 25 Player Countdown. Each day, we publish a new article counting down the 25 best players in the Atlantic 10 this past season. Today, we feature #12 Mo Alie-Cox.
If you were a fan of any team not named VCU last season, you hated seeing Mo Alie-Cox patrolling the paint. Luckily he’s finally leaving VCU, right? I mean, he’s been there forever, has he not? Well, as Ram fans say, “Mo says No”. The A-10’s dreadlocked Sampson has one final season on Broad St. and after an all-conference year will look to go out with a bang. So watch out because you don’t want to bang with Mo Alie-Cox.
Alie-Cox saved the best for last, punctuating a great season with a big performance under the bright lights of March Madness. Big Mo tallied 20 points, eight rebounds and blocked three shots in the Rams’ win over Oregon State, VCU’s first March Madness victory since Will Wade’s last season as an assistant at VCU in 2013. The Beavers had no answer for Mo in the paint, allowing the big fella to connect on seven of his eight attempts including this monster and-1 dunk.
It was one of just two 20-point performances on the season for the unselfish 6’7 forward. A month earlier Alie-Cox dropped a career-high 21 points in a rout of Dan Hurley’s Rhode Island Rams, connecting on 10 of his 12 attempts in the win. The Alexandria, VA native was also one of the worst enemies of the Davidson Wildcats this past season, averaging 18 points, 10 rebounds and 3 blocks in VCU’s two wins over the 2015 A-10 regular season champs.
Efficiency is the word when it comes to Mo Alie-Cox. No.12 checks in with the sixth-best offensive rating in Atlantic 10 play this past season at 122. His 65.5% true shooting percentage was third best in the league while his free throw rate of 61.5% was second best in the A-10. In other words when VCU’s guards got him the ball he either put it in the hole at a very high rate or drew a foul to connect on the freebies (shot 77.8% from the stripe, very good for any team’s big). Defensively he was one of the league’s best rim protectors, blocking 8% of opponents attempts (second in the A-10) and when he wasn’t blocking shots he was deterring the opposition from even daring to bring the ball in the paint. And again…that was just his junior season. Alie-Cox has one more summer in the weight room (ruh roh, Raggy) and will likely graduate VCU as the school’s all-time leader in field goal percentage.
Alie-Cox will hope to graduate as yet another VCU Ram to have played in four consecutive NCAA tournaments. He’s been a part of an extremely successful era of VCU basketball that new Ram fans quite frankly probably take for granted. He will have been the key interior presence for VCU in three of those seasons, which speaks volumes to just how good the former 6’6 Rivals 2-star recruit has been since joining the black and gold. How many recent A-10 bigs graduated as the KEY frontcourt player on two NCAA tournament teams? How many on three? Alie-Cox will no doubt graduate as one of the most beloved VCU players of all time but has a chance to really etch his name in A-10 lore as well with a successful senior campaign.
Previously: #13 Patricio Garino
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