Golden Hawk star Ali Sow remains excited and focused on returning to play
Although making it to their second consecutive OUA semi-final appearance this past season, the last few months and course of the summer for the Golden Hawks basketball team has been a lot different than last year.
Entering his fourth season as the star guard on the Laurier team, Ali Sow has had to adjust to the challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought to himself and the team.
Last summer Ali Sow was with his coach Justin Serresse in Italy as they both represented Team Canada at the 2019 FISU Summer Universiade. Ali Sow and the men’s basketball also embarked on a memorable trip to Coach Serresse’s hometown of France. At this time last year, Sow and his teammates were in France fulfilling a dream of Coach Serresse which was to travel to his hometown alongside his team.
The flight to France allowed the Golden Hawks to play against three French basketball teams, experience the international basketball landscape and most importantly to relax and sightsee together as a team.
This summer has been a lot different due to the COVID-19 pandemic which has forced the OUA to cancel sports sanctioned games and events until Dec 31st, 2020 at the earliest. Due to the restrictions that have been put in place, the team has not been able to have the bonding experience that it experienced last year.
Coach Serresse and the team have not been able to use the Laurier facilities and practice as a team, as university sports have been put on hold to prioritize the safety and health of everyone.
“It’s definitely a different feeling from last year, I was a little shocked, I didn’t think the season was going to be put on hold,” Ali Sow said about the announcement by the OUA.
Sow remains focused, however, on developing his game and keeping together with his teammates virtually. Sow will take on a larger role with the team as he enters his fourth year and will most certainly be viewed as the leader.
With two productive veterans in Kemel Archer and Matt Minutillo graduating from the team this past year, Sow knows he will be taking on most of the load, which he has certainly shown he can do.
“The mission stays the same however, everyone is trying to get better through the summer and we are still training to become the best and hopefully when a new season comes, we’ll be ahead of the curve,” Sow said.
Ali Sow has established his dominance on the court with the Golden Hawks and in three seasons has quickly developed a legacy of one of the best scorers and shooters that the Golden Hawks program has seen.
Sow has put together some of the most prolific seasons in recent OUA basketball memory and is well known as one of the best players in the competitive OUA and has made a name for himself nationally, being recognized by USPORTS on several occasions throughout his career.
Sow’s 1462 points in three seasons puts him fourth on the Laurier all-time career scoring list. He also holds the single season scoring record for Laurier and the entire OUA with his performance during the 2018-19 season. Scoring 639 points, while also hitting on 74 three pointers, Sow put together one of the best seasons by an OUA basketball player.
Over the course of his three seasons, Sow has won several accolades from Laurier, the OUA and USPORTS. In 2019, Ali Sow won the President’s award being named the top male athlete of the year. He has been named Laurier athlete of the week a staggering 12 times and was the team MVP in 2019.
In his first year, Sow was on both, the OUA and USPORTS All-Rookie teams and won the OUA Rookie of the Year award. The following season, Sow was an OUA first-team all-star and a USPORTS second team All-Canadian, becoming only the eight Golden Hawk to achieve that honour.
This past season, Sow missed four games but still finished within the top five of the OUA in total points, while finishing second in the conference with his points per game average of 23.7. Sow also recorded career highs in rebounds per game and assists per game, while being one of the best players in the OUA during the Wilson Cup Playoffs.
Ali Sow was phenomenal in Laurier’s remarkable playoff run this past season. In the three playoff games, which saw the team beat Queens, before upsetting Lakehead and losing in heartbreaking fashion to Western, Sow scored 26 points, 27 points and 41 points against Western.
In the semi-final against the Mustangs, Sow made some incredible shots, matching his season high of 41 points. Sow made six three pointers, including one which put the Golden Hawks ahead with just ten seconds left in the overtime frame, before losing on a last second shot by Western’s Nikola Farkic. A game that Coach Serresse has still not been able to get his mind off of.
Sow is a dominant player who has stepped up at the biggest stages when Laurier has needed him. Over seven playoff games with the Golden Hawks, Sow has averaged 28 points per game, while shooting over 50 per cent from the field.
Sow is focused on making more history for the men’s basketball program and we’ll get the opportunity to with his brother and new teammate Ismael Sow.
Ismael was signed on by Coach Serresse as one of five players added to the roster for the 2020-21 season and is the younger brother of Ali.