Al-Farouq Aminu made a couple of statements last weekend at the Wallace Prather Memorial Classic. The 6-foot-8 forward from Norcross (Ga.) High School announced his top six schools and let his stellar play send a message to the class of 2008.
Aminu helped lead his Georgia Stars 16 and under team to the championship game of the tournament but had to leave early due to cramps in both of his legs.
The medical leave and his 15-year-old memory were the best pair of defenders he faced in the tournament. Against Howard Thompkins, one of the top 2008 players in the country, Aminu left his jersey at home and had it delivered for the second half of the 8:20 a.m. game. Aminu delived 14 points in the final 16 minutes of work and did a good job of defending Thompkins on the blocks.
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Aminu's older brother, Alade, is a freshman at Georgia Tech and played clock keeper for one of his brother's games. The elder Aminu could sense something about Al-Farouq's game. Something is different this year.
"He's taking this best player in the state thing seriously," Alade said.
The real question is just how good is he amongst the nation's class of 2008? So far, so good.
The weekend also yielded a top six list for Aminu. He said Clemson (offer), Tennessee, UConn, Georgia Tech (offer), Florida and Wake Forest compile his finalists.
"I kind of knew my top six already so I thought there was no point in really wasting people's time," Aminu said. "I didn't think it would be fair to waste people's time if I knew I wasn't interested. I just really liked those schools," Aminu said. "There was really no way I picked them."
Since transferring from Wesleyan (where he played alongside Thompkins), Aminu has formed a close bond with Norcross forward Gani Lawal, a 2007 Georgia Tech commitment. Talk about surrounding yourself with talent. Aminu said he tapped into Lawal's experience to help with his recruiting decisions, particularly coming up with a top options list.
"When he said he did it, he said everything came out cool," Aminu said. "I was nervous at first to do it but he said it's okay to bring out your list."
With momentum in one pocket and six high-majors in another, Aminu said he is focused on improving his game and winning ball games. That's a good formula going into the summer. Basketball is his next step while the six finalists posture in July.
"I don't have a date or anything but I'll cut the list when I feel like I know where I want to go," Aminu said.