20th May, 2013
New Orleans Hornets forward, Al-Farouq Aminu has revealed that he is looking forward to get back on the court this summer, to play for Nigeria at the FIBA Africa Championship holding in Abidjan, Ivory Coast from 20-31 August, 2013.
Even if he is less known when compared to more prominent players like Luol Deng or Serge Ibaka, Al-Farouq Aminu has been affirming himself as one of the future flag-bearers of the African continent in the NBA.
Born in the United States to Nigerian parents, Aminu has been showing great things, starting 71 games during the 2012-13 campaign.
He burst onto international basketball’s scene last year when he made his national team debut for Nigeria at last year’s FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament (OQT).
He impressed with his versatility, averaging 13.2 points, 5.4 rebounds and 2.4 assists. Along with Ike Diogu, Aminu was one of the key players that led the national team to secure the country’s first appearance in the Olympic Basketball Tournament.
The 2.05m forward had big performances in key wins over European powers Lithuania and Greece to clinch one of the three Olympic berths on offer.
The Nigerians managed only one win – over Tunisia – at the London Games but look to be among the favourites to be crowned African champions in Abidjan this summer and book a place for the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup.
Speaking with FIBA.com recently, Aminu said: “Even if I was born in the USA, I’ve always been dreaming of playing for the Nigerian national team.”
“But I didn’t know how to play for my country until I met Ike Diogu, who helped me to be in contact with the Nigerian federation.
“It’s a source of great pride for me to be part of this team. I’m representing my parents’ country and I’m helping put Nigeria basketball back on the map.”
Aminu is ready to do his part to ensure the continued progression of the D-Tigers in years to come.
“I’m ready to get involved long-term in the project. We have a very talented group of players and we showed in Venezuela and also in London that we can compete at the highest level,” he explained.
As he lets his body recover from the grind of the NBA season, Aminu is optimistic that he will turn out for Nigeria this summer.
“My participation at the Afrobasket will depend on my physical fitness but if I’m in shape, I’ll go for sure,” he said.
“By having a great performance there, we can reach a spot to the FIBA Basketball World Cup and the team will keep improving by playing against the best teams.”