Norcross high school has produced two outstanding forwards in the last two years in Alade Aminu and Gani Lawal. They have a third coming for the class of 2008, in the form of Alades younger brother Al-Farouq.
Al-Farouq Aminu is regarded by many to be the top small forward prospect in the class of 2008. He is an excellent athlete, and is capable of getting to the basket by putting the ball on the floor from the perimeter thanks to his excellent first step. The 6-foot-8 forward is an adept passer for either forward position, as his natural feel for the game generally allows him to see things on the floor before they happen.
Farouq possesses great size for a small forward prospect, with an outstanding wingspan to add. He is able to alter shots on the defensive end via his length and excellent timing, while showing the ability to stay out of foul trouble. His man to man defense on the perimeter could be improved upon, but we are looking at a player only 16 years of age, so there is plenty of time for development.
The most glaring weakness in Aminus game is his lack of post moves. When receiving the ball down on the blocks, there are times when the Georgia big man looks a bit lost. He often reverts to a turnaround jumper out of the post, not fully utilizing the height advantage that he has over smaller defenders. Aminu is also not a great shooter at this point in time, which hinders his ability to play on the perimeter full time.
Georgia Tech, Florida, North Carolina, and Wake Forest are the four finalists for Aminu with all put Georgia Tech recruiting him as a combo forward. With improved strength and low post moves, there is no question why Aminu couldnt wind up being a Marvin Williams type combo forward in a few years. He already owns superior perimeter skills in comparison to the current Atlanta Hawk forward in his high school days, and could eventually become a full-time small forward if he decides that is what fits his skill set best. Either way, we are looking at an incredibly skilled forward who is going to come in and make an impact upon whatever college he attends from the day he steps foot on campus.
Rodger Bohn: Can you give me a brief description of your game, for those out there who havent seen you play?
Aminu: Im a 68 player who can handle the ball, has a little range on his jumpshot, and can also post up.
Rodger Bohn: Tell me why you feel youre the best player the class of 2008 has to offer.
Aminu: Because I do a lot on the court. I dont think I do anything phenomenally well, but Im able to do a variety of things out there on the floor that most players cant do. You have a scorer who might be able to score very, very well where with me, I can score, pass, and rebound.
Rodger Bohn: What areas of your game do you feel you need to improve upon most?
Aminu: I would say my strength, ball handling, and low post moves.
Rodger Bohn: Tell me what the typical off-season day for Al-Farouq Aminu is like.
Aminu: I pray, work out in the morning, and then have a pretty normal day. My basketball workouts go for about an hour with my AAU coach. We work on whatever he thinks I need to work on from how I played in my last AAU tournament.
Rodger Bohn: What schools are you currently considering?
Aminu: Georgia Tech, UNC, and Florida.
Rodger Bohn: So just those three schools?
Aminu: Wake Forest as well.
Rodger Bohn: Who is your leader right now?
Aminu: Im not sure. I would say that its a tie between all four that Ive listed.
Rodger Bohn: What schools have you visited so far?
Aminu: All of them, except Wake Forest.
Rodger Bohn: You bring up Wake Forest, it seems as if theyve really emerged in your recruitment. Can you tell me how they got in the picture?
Aminu: Theyve kind of always been in the picture. The only thing with them is that they havent offered yet.
Rodger Bohn: Tell me what you like about Wake Forest.
Aminu: I like the coaching staff there, and some of the players. I know that they had a point guard who led the ACC in assists and I know they have a big guy coming in, so thats going to allow me to play more on the wing.
Rodger Bohn: The big guy that youre referring to that Wake has coming in is Ty Walker. Do you have much of a relationship with Ty?
Rodger Bohn: What are the main factors in your recruitment?
Aminu: I want to make sure that the college coach is a good coach all around. I also want to make sure that the players that Im going to be playing with are people that I really want to be around. I dont want it to be people that I dont like or anything like that. Then of course the school, and everything like that.
Rodger Bohn: What position are you looking to play at the next level?
Aminu: Small Forward.
Rodger Bohn: So are all of the schools recruiting you as a small forward, or are they recruiting you as a combo forward?
Aminu: Georgia Tech is recruiting me only as a small forward. The other three are recruiting me as both a small forward and power forward.
Rodger Bohn: But if its up to you, youd be playing small forward in college?
Rodger Bohn: When looking at potential colleges, are you looking for a school in which you will have the opportunity to come in and go one and done?
Aminu: No, not really. I think I might want to stay two or three years, so I dont think Im just going to go and play one year.
Rodger Bohn: Did you feel disrespected by North Carolina with them not offering you a scholarship until Delvon Roe had already committed to Michigan State?
Aminu: No, I didnt think about it like that. I really didnt mind.
Rodger Bohn: So with the Roe situation aside, what is it you like about UNC?
Aminu: The tradition that they have is amazing. The coach is real high energy and is just really fun to be around.
Rodger Bohn: How big of a factor is playing close to home to you?
Aminu: Its not going to be a real big factor. There are some days though where I might want go and others where I think I might want to stay close to home.
Rodger Bohn: How close are you and Alade (Aminu, his older brother who plays for Georgia Tech)?
Aminu: Were real close. We talk about playing with each other sometimes.
Rodger Bohn: If Georgia Tech is recruiting you only as a small forward, one might assume that you would play a role similar to that Thaddeus Young played this past season. Were you happy with the way Georgia Tech used Young this year?
Aminu: Yeah. Its kind of hard to say that because were each our own player. I saw him play in high school and college and I really liked the improvement that he made.
Rodger Bohn: What is it that you like about Georgia Tech?
Aminu: I have brothers who go there. A lot of people who came through Georgia go there as well. Its kind of like an extended family for me at Georgia Tech.
Rodger Bohn: Finally, what is it you like about Florida?
Aminu: I went down there and they were real nice. The whole coaching staff was real cool. They were down to earth and really peaceful. The players on their team were interacting with each other, and they just seemed like family.
Rodger Bohn: Have you set a timetable as to when youre going to make your decision?
Aminu: I think Im going to wait until the end of the summer, after I can take one or two officials. Then Ill commit and Im going to try to sign in November.
Rodger Bohn: Tell me about your matchup with Greg Monroe in April. How do you think you fared?
Aminu: It was fun. Hes a good player and it was something to look forward to. I think I did pretty good against him.
Rodger Bohn: How did your high school season go, both for your team and individually?
Aminu: I did pretty good and we won the state championship, so I cant really complain.
Rodger Bohn:What are your thoughts on the NBAs age limit?
Aminu: I think its cool. I think that some players arent ready and some are. I dont think it hurts to go to college for one year, so I dont think its that big of a deal. Then sometimes I think if thats what you want to do and some people need the money, that it kind of takes away from them.