Aminu, Nigeria unbeaten at FIBA Africa event
By: Jim Eichenhofer, Pelicans.com, @Jim_Eichenhofer
Displaying an all-around versatility that has him contributing in numerous areas, Al-Farouq Aminu helped lead the Nigeria men’s basketball team to a 3-0 record in the preliminary round of the FIBA Africa championships. The New Orleans Pelicans small forward is averaging 14.0 points, 5.0 rebounds and 5.3 assists for Nigeria, which will begin play in the knockout round Tuesday vs. Central African Republic (3 p.m. Central in New Orleans).
The top three teams from the 16-nation field will qualify for next summer’s FIBA World Championships in Spain.
On Friday, Aminu had 15 points in a 93-75 victory over the Republic of Congo. Aminu’s older brother, Alade Aminu, finished with 23 points and nine rebounds. Nigeria wrapped up the opening round Sunday with a 91-84 triumph against Cameroon. The 22-year-old Al-Farouq registered 12 points, nine assists, four steals and two blocks.
A two-year member of New Orleans, Aminu is shooting 62 percent from two-point range at FIBA Africa, but his overall percentage has been diminished by 1-of-11 accuracy from the three-point arc. He’s at 72 percent from the foul line on 18 attempts.
Former New Orleans power forward Ike Diogu is leading Nigeria in scoring at 21.3 points per game. Along with Diogu and Al-Farouq Aminu, the Nigerian squad has a total of five current or former NBA players. The others are Ben Uzoh, Gani Lawal and Olumide Oyedeji.