Aminu gained invaluable experience in offseason

By: Brian Travis,

Athletic marvel. Lockdown defender. Olympian. Al-Farouq Aminu spent the summer adding a new title to his resume: International basketball ambassador. In addition to training and preparing for his second full season with the New Orleans Hornets, Aminu participated in an NBA Basketball Without Borders program in Zambia, Africa, and played in the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.

While leading his team in to its first-ever Olympic berth, Nigeria won a game vs. fellow African nation Tunisia. Nigeria currently ranks 17th in the world rankings, thanks in large part to an increase of NBA-quality talent like Aminu.

Known as “Chief” in the Hornets organization, the 6-foot-9, 215-pound forward also accompanied a contingency of NBA players, coaches and executives to Zambia to put on a basketball development camp for 60 young players. Aminu is passionate about improving the foundation of African basketball and raising the level of play of the Nigerian national team on the international stage.

In Zambia, Aminu talked about the future of Nigerian basketball and his goals to win multiple games during round-robin play at the next Olympics and someday win a medal. In order to raise the level of play, Aminu believes a few things must improve. “It would be a mixture of two things, time and dedication from the players,” he said. “Most of the teams participating in the Olympics have been together for a long time. We need to play more and more with each other and hopefully we will start being more of a dominant force in the world. Also, we would need to do a better job with developing players. There are a lot of good Nigerians, but a lot of them just don’t play with the team. So, that’s the dedication from their part.”

Hornets fans have reason to believe the 21-year-old’s international experiences and two-plus years in the NBA will lead to a productive and more consistent season. His workload and expectations from the organization should reflect that as well. Hornets third-year coach Monty Williams stated that he expects more consistency out of the Wake Forest product.

With the added experience and increased responsibility, Hornets fans can expect to see “Chief” getting up and down the court, finishing in transition, and defending the best wing players in the NBA with much more regularity.