After a bit of a hiccup, the NYMPPs are back and getting meaty with the DJ stylings of the sophomore forward from Wake Forest, Al-Farouq Aminu. It's been awhile, so if you missed the Greivis Vasquez profile, go back and refresh your collective memories, but here are the 5 categories I'll be grading (there's no grade) on at the end: Sinbad Memorial Skillset, UPSIDE, Feelings of Former School, Looks and A final surprise category that will be specific to each player, and most likely in bold font.
So with that in mind, let's get all Magic Schoolbus on this AFA profile after the jump.
Sinbad Memorial Skillset: What separates Aminu from all those other freakishly athletic raw wings is his rebounding and his defense. He may have been the best rebounder (especially offensive) in the nation last year, attacking the boards with 13 per 40 pace-adjusted minutes. And this is with Chas McFarland playing opposite him, a decent rebounder in his own right. Defensively, he's capable of guarding 4 (!) positions, using his length and lateral foot speed to stay in front of his opponents. He's lacking a jump shot, but he's been reportedly working with renowned shooting coach Dave Hopla and showing vast improvement already. If he can develop a consistent jump shot, in addition to all his other skills, he definitely has ridiculous....
UPSIDE: This is what you came for. With the jump shot and hitting the weights a bit harder, Aminu has the ability to be a star on both ends of the floor. Pair him with a slashing point guard that can create and he's deadly. I don't think the kid has a ceiling, it's more like a veranda with a retractable roof that you take down when it's hot outside and put up in the rain. It's like that, only more athletic.
Feelings of Former School: I'm really into feelings, so I tracked down lead man Martin Rickman from Blogger So Dear to get his take on AFA during his two years at Wake. He wrote a novel, but I'm gonna give him his due and publish all of it, especially since I get paid by the word (I don't).
It's really a shame that Al-Farouq Aminu didn't have a chance to play his role on a team where his role would matter more. He sneakily had one of the better years of a player in the ACC and if you weren't paying attention you would have missed it. Aminu is not a bigtime scorer; rather he's in the Stacey Augmon mold.
He plays hard, stays tough on defense, alters shots, grabs rebounds and gets himself in a position for an easy put back. He's spectacular at tipping the ball to himself when it's in the air and using his length to his advantage. He was arguably the best offensive rebounder in the country last year.
Where Aminu gets in trouble is when he tries to be a ballhandler. He runs the floor extremely well, but his handles left something to be desired. Far too often last year he'd get out in transition and instead of giving the ball up to a guard so he could get down for an easy look, he'd dribble awkwardly and turn it over or pick up an offensive foul. His shooting was inconsistent, but he was at his best when he was shooting in rhythm rather than from a set shot.
There's no doubting his upside though (see what I did there?) (ed. note: Oh Yes). He is an extremely long player who still has time to put on weight and strength and his body has the frame to support that. If he continues to work on his handles and his shot, or he decides to bang down low more often, he can be a very solid pro for a long time. But he needs to decide which role he wants to play, and hopefully his next coach will establish that role early on.
Looks: I gotta be honest, I didn't expect AFA to grow out that little 'fro of his, but it's kinda been his staple at Wake so I dig it. Also, the number 1 plays a huge role in his appearance, which somehow seems cooler on a slick 6'8 baller. And I'm a big fan of the crooked smile. Swaggerific.
Tag-Team Partner: Bradshaw. Definitely Bradshaw. And if you don't get the joke, you obviously were blackout drunk during the 90's.
Next up: Hopefully Matt Bouldin (that's not his nickname, I'm just hoping. But we could make it his nickname if we try)