Before Mahershala Ali was winning an Academy Award for his role as the best supporting actor in “Moonlight,” he was tearing it up on the hardwood for the Saint Mary’s basketball team.

Well, quite a while ago.

A member of the Gaels from 1992-96, Ali played under then-coach Ernie Kent. Ali played in 97 games in his four-year career, averaging 3.6 points and 1.1 rebounds per game. Ali, a 6-foot-3 guard, had his best season as a senior with averages of 7.0 points and 1.8 rebounds per game, according to Sports Reference

In accepting his Oscar on Sunday night, Ali gave a slight nod to his time at the school to those who impacted him.

“I want to thank my teachers, my professors,” Ali said. “One thing they consistently told me was that it wasn’t about you. It’s not about you, it’s about these characters, you are a servant. You’re in service to these stories and these characters.” 

Ali became the the first Muslim actor to win an Oscar.