El-Amin following in his fathers footsteps
CHARLOTTE, NC -- As the son of former UConn point guard and long-time European pro Khalid El-Amin, Class of 2017 three-star guard Ishmael El-Amin already has plenty of perspective when it comes to high-level basketball.
The elder El-Amin famously won a national championship as the starting point guard of the Huskies in 1999 and still plays in Europe with BG Göttingen of the German Basketball Bundesliga. Because his father still plays the game as a professional, it gives Ishmael the unique opportunity to work out with his father, who is still working hard to continue his 15-year pro career.
The time difference between continents sometimes prevents Ishmael from watching his father play in Europe, but he tries to catch games online when he can and often gets phone calls breaking down how his dad played. When the father-son duo gets to spend time together in the offseason, they do all they can to work out to try and improve.
"We work out together. We're both in the gym together. Basically we do everything together that's basketball related. We're building that father-son bond but we're also building that basketball relationship," the younger El-Amin said of his father. "'Oh, we need to get you stronger. Let's go get some shots up,' [he says] stuff like that. Always in the gym, 24/7, that's what we try to do."
Working with his father has helped the 6-foot-2 El-Amin blossom into an intriguing prospect, as the point guard from Hopkins High School in Minnesota already has scholarship offers from DePaul and Texas Tech. Creighton, Minnesota, Northern Iowa, St. John's and Wisconsin have also shown some early interest while Khalid's alma mater, UConn, has also been keeping tabs.
While the recruiting process is still in the very early stages for El-Amin, he does have one clear focus in mind when looking for a future program.
"I want to go somewhere where I have a great chance to win a national championship. That's one thing that I'm big on, is winning," El-Amin said. "So I want to go a winning program that has a chance to win a national championship."
Khalid was a focal point for that UConn 1999 national championship team but he wants to let Ishmael make his own decision when it comes to a future school.
Still, father and son will occasionally watch the title game against Duke in which Khalid went for 12 points, four assists and four rebounds in a tight 77-74 win.
"We don't talk about it that much,"El-Amin said of his national title aspirations. "We talk about it some and he says, 'son, if that's what you want -- to go to a school and do that -- then that's what you want to do.
"He has all of his UConn games on VCR. Whenever we get time, we sit down and we watch, take notes, rewind, watch it over again."
The note-taking sessions and film breakdowns have made a positive impression on Ishmael. He cites a couple of his father's games -- including the national title win over Duke -- as the games that he particularly enjoys watching.
"National championship game - that's my favorite one," El-Amin said with a smile. "That one and the Pittsburgh one. Those two stand out the most. That national championship game, I see myself in a position like that. My team trying to shock the world like they said they were going to. That feels like that's something I want to live."