Sophomore Al-Farouq Aminu's return to the Demon Deacons was a shot of life into a team that lost it's two leading scorers from a season ago to the first round of the NBA draft. With expectations through the roof, Aminu worked hard all summer on improving his jump shot, as well as other fundamentals. He is supposed to be the go-to guy, the playmaker, the superstar. So what has caused his struggles the last three games?
26 mpg, 17.3 ppg, 54.4 fg%, 50% 3pt%, 73.5 ft%, 1.833 apg, 8.5 rpg, .5 bpg, 1.667 spg, 3 to per game
*It is important to note right away that Aminu has improved in every statistical category from last year except for blocks and turnovers in less minutes. So there is improvement thus far, but not as big of a jump as was predicted.
Aminu started out hot at the beginning of the year, putting on a clinic with his highlight plays and drives. His jump shot also looked good--hitting 3 of his first 8. In these three games, Wake won by an average of 24.6 points. But since then, he has steadily declined.
The most surprising thing in that graph is his offensive rating. It has tumbled. What is the reason for this? In the 4 games since the win over High Point Aminu:
- Has shot 32.6% as opposed to 68.6% in the first three.
- He has shot 23% from 3pt.
- Is averaging 3.5 fouls per game
- Has had an average of 4 TO per game
Aminu has looked like he has been forcing the issue. He has dribbled into traffic, often being met by 3 defenders in the post and has either missed the shot or had it taken away. On fast breaks, rather than throwing an outlet pass, he will take the ball himself and has lost it a number of times. He has gotten himself into foul trouble early, which keeps him from getting into a rhythm.
Farouq is at his best when he lets the game come to him and takes what is given to him. If his defender sags off, he can find a mid-range shot. If he's doubled, he can find the open man. If he gets a screen, he can explode to the hoop. He is great at getting into the paint and guessing where the ball will come off the tin to gather the rebound and get putback buckets.
With his struggles, we are seeing a lot less of all of these things. He's playing at a speed that is too quick for him and is trying to do things that he has not yet developed in his game. I have no doubt that Aminu will be able to pick himself back up and be an even better player than we saw in explosive spurts last season. He just needs to focus, get in the paint more, give up the ball on breaks and keep himself from not trying to do too much.