Length and athleticism have, in many ways, changed the game of basketball. Sure, teams would love to have a 7-footer protecting the rim. But, 7-footers are few and far between these days. So, coaches have to rely on players with great length and athleticism who can play multiple positions.
And Abilene Christian has two players that fit that category in returner Tobias Cameron and newcomer Ali Dibba. With just one player 6’11 or taller, ACU head coach Brette Tanner has to rely on guys that can fill different roles. Cameron, at times in 2021-22, played the 2, 3, and 4 position. And in limited minutes due to injury at Chicago State, Dibba played multiple positions, too.
Let’s get into these two players a bit more.
Tobias Cameron – 6’5, 210 pounds, Graduate
Initially, the stats don’t jump out at you from 2022-23. Cameron started in 17 games, averaging 6.7 points and 3.6 assists. But it was efficient for the 25-win Wildcats. Cameron shot nearly 47 percent from the field and nearly 31 percent from 3-point land.
The graduate student from Queensland, Australia had arguably his best game of the season in the WAC semifinals. Cameron scored a season-high 18 points, went 10-11 from the free throw line and helped ACU knock off regular season co-champ Seattle U, 78-76.
“Tobias is my dude,” Tanner said. “That dude does not care about any of the credit. I am probably harder on him than anyone on our roster…he’s a coachable kid. The best part about Tobias is I can play him anywhere on the floor…and he never says one word. He just does what you ask him to do. I expect, I’m hoping and expecting big things from him this year.”
In four years at ACU, Cameron has played in 112 out of a possible 134 games. So, along with his length and athleticism, Cameron also provides a veteran leadership. Expect Cameron’s length and athleticism to be on full display all season as the Wildcats look for another 20-plus win season.
The finish for @Cameron11Tobias!
— ACU Men’s Basketball (@ACU_MBB) March 12, 2022
Ali Abdou Dibba – 6’4, 185 pounds, Sophomore
Had Ali Abdou Dibba been healthy the entire 2021-22 season, Chicago State may have won more games. But, the sophomore from Stockholm, Sweden only played in five games for the Cougars. Most of it was due to injuries but some of it was due to travel restrictions in Sweden. In fact, Dibba missed the final 12 games of the season due to a hand injury.
However, in those five games, Dibba averaged 13.4 points and 3.0 rebounds while shooting 51 percent from the field and 33 percent from 3-point range. Dibba had 21 points in a loss at Grand Canyon on Dec. 31 and 24 points against Seattle on Jan. 6. For his efforts, Dibba was the WAC Player of the Week for December 27 through January 2.
With his length and athleticism, Dibba can be a mismatch on the perimeter. And head coach Brette Tanner believes Dibba will fit in just fine.
“He’s a basket-maker,” Tanner said. “The WAC got to see that briefly…I feel really confident about him…he is also long and lanky and can play defense the way that we want to play, get out in passing lanes and do some stuff like that. I think he’s a guy that going to be a steal leader for us. And, obviously, one of our guys that can put the ball in the basket.”
?? You may not have heard of Ali Dibba, but you will soon. Covid protocols and a wrist injury have shortened his Fr. year, but he has shown good things in the span of 5 games. Slashing and defensive skills, tough shotmaking around the basket, range. Just scratching the surface. pic.twitter.com/CHK29zsZAM
— CBB Europe (@CBB_Europe) March 16, 2022