BYU men’s basketball adds transfer center Aly Khalifa

Mark Pope has officially landed BYU’s first transfer portal acquisition of the Big 12 era.

Former Charlotte center Aly Khalifa announced his intention to transfer to BYU Sunday via social media, giving the Cougars a versatile talent in the backcourt they blaringly lacked this past season.

“I chose BYU because of the great coaching staff and the amazing community,” Khalifa told Vanquish the Foe. “Just love everything about Provo and BYU. Really excited and can’t wait for the season to start already.”

Khalifa posted 11.7 points and 6.3 rebounds per game for the CBI champion 49ers in 2022-23, shooting a solid 51.1% from the field and 38.1% from deep. The 6-foot-11 “Egyptian magician” also provides BYU with another capable passing option, averaging 2.7 assists per game at Charlotte with the ability to make plays down low and on the wing.

Not only did BYU fall short in the size department last season, but its bigs were far too one dimensional in terms of scoring, with just 19.1% of the combined field goal attempts from Fouss Traore, Atiki Ally Atiki and Noah Waterman coming from behind the arc. In contrast, 40.1% of Khalifa’s shots came from 3-point range, making his addition to a deep shooting-starved Cougar frontcourt all the more valuable.

Per Robby McCombs, Khalifa garnered interest from Florida, Texas Tech and a number of other notable programs, but the prospect of playing in the Big 12 alongside BYU’s strong NIL push “made a difference” in Pope getting his guy.

With BYU’s first portal signing of 2022 being Rudi Williams on May 7, Khalifa’s mid-April announcement earlier in the portal period should be an encouraging sign for the Cougars, who are also in the hunt for Utah State sharpshooter Steven Ashworth and Washington State big Dishon Jackson, among others.

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