Younger Aminu Playing Catch-Up

Alade Aminu never really had to live up to the hype. That's not the case with his younger brother, Al-Farouq, who checks in at No. 8 in the Class of 2008 despite playing on the junior varsity squad a year ago.

Al-Farouq Aminu is still shocked.

The Norcross High (Ga.) junior forward played on the junior varsity team a year ago. Not that he wasn't capable of playing on the varsity team, but transfer rules forced him to play on a group along with Florida State-bound forward Jordan DeMercy that didn't even run the table in the JV ranks.

Despite not being seen in high school, Aminu's stock (No. 8, climbed quickly last summer. While it took his older brother, Alade (now a sophomore at Georgia Tech), until after his junior season to make a name for himself, things have come more easily for him.

``Lots of kids have known they were the man since seventh grade," Aminu said. "I'm still fighting to find my own identity."

Aminu's role is still somewhat unclear because he is now on a loaded Norcross team that also features Gani Lawal (Georgia Tech), Tony Neysmith (Oklahoma) and DeMercy.

``I know I'm capable, but this is really my first year where people consider me really good," Aminu said. ``Last year I was able to – and went through the motions. This year I have to play hard in every game."

Aminu showed some resiliency coming back strong from a sub-par performance this past week in Houston. After starting the tournament with a dominating 19-point, 14-rebound performance in a victory against Rice, he scored just 2 points and fouled out midway through the second half in a loss to St. Pat's. Aminu responded with 17 points in a game that Lawal struggled to help lead Norcross to a victory over Kingwood.

The 16-year-old said he still has difficulty beating his older brother when the two play against one another.

``It's all psychological," Al-Farouq said. "He talks. I can beat him sometimes, but he gets me more than I get him."

While Alade was considered a reach by Georgia Tech when Paul Hewitt and his staff signed the 6-foot-10 big man out of Stephenson High, the younger Aminu is being pursued by big-time programs.

Al-Farouq said that Georgia Tech, Florida and UConn comprise the top tier schools on his list while Tennessee and Georgia are also in the mix.

``One day I like one school, then the next day I like another," Aminu said. "If I go to Georgia Tech, I can play with my brother for one year and play with Gani. The question for me is whether I want to go somewhere that I know everyone or whether I want to go away for college. I go back and forth on that."

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