Indiana has been talking to class of 2021 5-star Aminu Mohammed for well over a year.
Offered in July, 2019, he has been on the IU campus and there have been dozens of conversations.
With the 6-foot-4 shooting guard targeting a decision announcement in December, Mohammed’s recruitment is hitting the homestretch.
After so many discussions with the IU staff, what was the focus of a 45-minute Zoom meeting on Friday night?
Head coach Archie Miller is really driving home how Mohammed can thrive in the IU system.
“They talk about how they are going to utilize me coming in –transition, coming off of ball screens, being able to make reads, Mohammed told The Daily Hoosier.
A 5-star recruiting target, Mohammed has legitimate near-term professional potential.
IU is emphasizing how the system they use will help him prepare for the NBA.
“We watch video of the (IU) players, and how the pros do it. They mix showing how IU and the NBA does the same thing. It is very much a basketball conversation.”
Ranked No. 14 nationally in the class of 2021, Mohammed had hoped to take official visits before reaching a decision on his next move.
His goal is to commit in December, and with visits shut down by the NCAA through the end of 2020, Mohammed has decided to stick with his timeline.
“I’m okay with that (not taking additional visits). It doesn’t matter,” Mohammed said. “It’s the relationships with the coaches that is important. It doesn’t matter if you see a game or not. Talking to the coaches on a Zoom call, showing how they play and things like that (are what matter).”
Indiana was able to make a strong in person impression with Mohammed in January when he visited for the Maryland game.
While the visit went well, Mohammed doesn’t believe he needs to see Bloomington or any other campus again.
“Just by me seeing them one time, that’s good, but at the end of the day it is the relationship that you have with the coach that is key,” he said.
That relationship with IU is solid, but the recent change on the Hoosiers’ coaching staff did have an impact.
Bruiser Flint was the lead assistant for IU with Mohammed. Since he left, Miller has stepped in and taken on a more prominent role.
“Mostly we speak with Coach Miller,” Mohammed told The Daily Hoosier of the recent discussions. “Today (Friday) we spoke with the new assistant coach (Kenya Hunter). He was very nice and he is a good assistant coach. He (Hunter) was talking about how they are going to use me. He also said this is Indiana, it’s big time basketball.”
Mohammed’s guardian Shawn Harmon plays an important role in the recruiting process, and he continues to be impressed with Indiana’s message.
“I like what they’re talking about in terms of utilization (of Mohammed),” Harmon told The Daily Hoosier.
Indiana is emphasizing their desire to have a wing of Mohammed’s caliber on the roster.
And if the conditions are right, IU would like to get Mohammed to Bloomington sooner than later.
“We talked about possibly him coming to school early,” Harmon said. “We don’t know how this COVID thing is going to go. Some of his season might get canceled, and Coach Hunter brought up coming to school early in January. They’ve got a couple of other kids possibly doing that.”
As The Daily Hoosier reported in August, class of 2021 forward Trey Kaufman said he intends to enroll in a college in January if his high school season is canceled.
It is a concept that is intriguing to Mohammed and Harmon as well.
“Of course we have to see where things are academically in terms of being able to do that, but that is something that we’ve considered because we’ve seen other kids doing that, Harmon said.
“Aminu is in good standing academically, he’s taking two college courses right now. I think academically he would be able to do it.”
Whether it is January or next summer, Harmon says Indiana has made it clear that they value Mohammed and want him in Bloomington.
“I think that Aminu is a priority for them for sure,” Harmon said.
Who else is prioritizing Mohammed at this stage of his recruitment?
Harmon said that Indiana is one of three schools that Mohammed is hearing from the most right now along with Georgetown and Georgia. Kansas State and Oklahoma State are also still involved.
CONTINUING TO DEVELOP
Mohammed was dominant as a junior in Missouri.
He averaged 34.8 points, 15.7 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 2.5 blocks per game to lead Greenwood Laboratory School (Springfield) to a 26-4 mark.
While he does most of his damage off the bounce — scoring in the mid-range and at the rim, Mohammed is becoming a better perimeter shooter.
It has been a point of emphasis since the high school season ended.
“The perimeter shot is looking good,” Harmon said. “Doing a lot of ball screen work. Next week we are going to work on coming off of pin-down screens. He is getting a lot of shots up.”
While he will need to keep defenses honest from three-point range at the next level, don’t expect Mohammed to abandon his greatest strength.
“I don’t think anything is going to change his desire to get to the basket and finish around the rim,” Harmon said. “I think that is something that is innate with him.
“The goal is to be able to read the defense and be able to hit any shot that fits the situation,” Harmon said.
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