HAMPTON, VA - The Peach State is consistently producing big time players from big time AAU programs an at the 2006 Boo Williams Invitational that proved to be true. Al-Farouq Aminu helped lead his Georgia Stars team to the 16 and under tournament championship.
Georgia Stars shine in 16U bracket
Al-Farouq Aminu has always been Alade's little brother. That could change in the near future. The 6-foot-8 forward from Norcross (Ga.) High School might be living in his last shadow of his older brother, a current freshman at Georgia Tech. The younger Aminu was sensational all week long at the Boo Williams tournament.
He capped off a great weekend with a 16 point performance in a 71-64 win over the South Carolina Ravens to claim the 16 and under division of the tournament.
Aminu, a year younger than his 2008 classmates, contrasts his brother's style of play. The younger of the two is more athletic, more fluid, more aggressive and more skilled at the same age and that showed. He attacked the basket off the bounce, would pull up from the wing and knock down a three, try to beat his man off the dribble and dunk one home. There is plenty to like with him.
Now the great debate in the Peach State begins. Who is the best 2008 player in the talent rich state of Georgia? Aminu? Howard Thompkins? Or Chris Singleton? Aminu has one up early on.
Aminu had help from a balanced team with a number of prospects. Tanner Smith, Aminu's former teammate at Wesleyan High School, was the money man in the championship game. He connected on a number of big threes and finished with a game high 23 points.
Smith, a 6-foot-5 combo guard from the class of 2008, is a good looking mid-major prospect. But mix his basketball IQ with his good grades and the high-majors will certainly flirt with him over the next couple of years.
The Stars have had a productive couple of weeks from 6-foot-10 center Tony Woods from Rome (Ga.) High School. Each week the confidence level grows for the prospect and as has games like he did in the championship game (12 points), he could really emerge as a big time high-major prospect.
Unlike a lot of young players that are flirting with the 7-foot mark, Woods is comfortable in his own skin, or late least appears as he is, and runs the floor well and in the post. He doesn't have a refined post game yet but blocks a lot of shots because of his size and timing. He has shown an ability to attack from the top of the key with a two dribble move to the basket and has no problems passing out of the post.
Once word gets out on him, Woods will be a must-see guy for a lot of high-major schools.
Take a look at the scorer's table and the five points Tariq Muhammad tallied in the championship game and it would be easy to say he didn't attribute too much to his team's victory. That is far from the truth. Muhammad is a terrific looking point guard with good size (6-foot-2) that controls the pace of a game but has little problem turning up the speed of the game. The class of 2009 prospect from Centennial High School will have his fair share of high-majors keeping an eye on him over the next couple of years.
There seemed to be a recipe for success at the Boo Williams tournament. If you have a work horse inside, you will do fine. Look at the championship teams in the 17 and 16 age groups. Boo Williams has Patrick Patterson. Houston Hoops has Gary Johnson. The Stars have Aminu. And the South Carolina Ravens have Murphy Holloway.
Holloway, a 6-foot-7 active body from Dutch Fork High School, has the best motor on his team and gave his coach Dion Bethea little reason to pull him out of the game. Holloway is a great offensive rebounder that makes an impact getting scores on tip-ins. He connected on a couple of elbow jumpers.
LeShay Page has a reputation of being a terrific scorer and he is when his shot gets rolling from the wing but he too often relied on his perimeter game and waited for shots to come his way rather than finding spots in the offense to get into the offense. Page finished with seven points in the defeat.
Jerry Meyer will have more on the 17 and under championship on Rivals.com.