As the U.S. Olympic men's basketball team embarks on their third game of Olympic group play against Nigeria, the team's most stringent effort will come from stopping forwards Al-Farouq Aminu and Ike Diogu.
In the team's first two games, Diogu and Aminu led the Nigerians to their first Olympic victory against Tunisia and have become nightly threats for a double-double.
Diogu leads all Nigerian starters, scoring 12.5 points a night and is tied with Aminu with a total of 20 rebounds so far.
But it's Aminu's play has even drawn praise from Team USA coach Mike Krzyzewski.
"Nigeria is very athletic and they have a lot of American players," said Krzyzewski in an interview on the Team USA basketball website. "In Al-Farouq Aminu they have a player that can get a double-double who is a NBA player."
Though Aminu will enter his third NBA season in 2012-13, there is very little known about the 2010 No. 8 overall pick.
Let's change that. But not in your typical, boring autobiographical way. Let's have fun with it. With that in mind, here's everything you need to know about Aminu.
Aminu is a Nigerian Prince
Both Al-Farouq and his fellow Olympian brother, Alade, are the sons of Aboubakar Aminu and Anjirlic Aminu who are descendants of Nigerian kings.
Via a 2007 Sports Illustrated profile:
"I'm a prince," [Aminu] says in response to the stock query.
Indeed, Aminu descends from a line of Nigerian kings, and his name, Al-Farouq (though he often goes by just Farouq), means, "The chief has arrived." Rarely has a translation seemed more appropriate.
Fun little bonus fact: Alade is also a member of Nigeria's basketball squad and is the team's leading scorer so far.
Aminu Overcame a Questionable Past to Get to the NBA
By any stretch of the imagination, Aminu had just about the worst possible sophomore year for a 16-year-old basketball star.
First, he was ruled ineligible to play on Norcross High School's top-tier basketball squad after transferring high schools and had to spend the year languishing on the junior varsity squad.
But it was his brush with the law in March 2007 that raised huge red flags. Aminu was arrested after shooting a woman with a BB gun out of a car window and charged with aggravated assault and criminal trespassing.
The top-ranked prep star plead the charge down and served three years of probation (information via CBS Sports) along with doing 120 hours of community service.
Luckily for Aminu, he kept his nose clean and hasn't had any law trouble for the past five years.
Fun Fact Fun Video
Thanks to the Hornets YouTube channel, we have this minute-and-a-half video to close out on. Aminu touches on his first basketball memory, spray painted shoes and his favorite food.
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