Five-star recruit Aminu Mohammed is one of the top high school basketball prospects in the Class of 2021. Bringing the talents of the world-beating 6’4” wing to Georgetown would have significant positive impacts to the team and program as a whole.
Mohammed’s high school stats paint a picture of dominance. As a freshman during the 2017-18 season, he earned All-Washington Catholic Athletic Conference honors for Washington, D.C.,’s Archbishop Carroll High School. Prior to his sophomore season, he transferred to the Greenwood Laboratory School in Springfield, Mo., where he put up an average of 34.2 points and 17.5 rebounds per game and was named Missouri’s Boys Basketball Gatorade Player of the Year. He followed that season up with an equally dominant junior season, in which he averaged 34.8 points, 15.7 rebounds, 3.6 assists and 2.5 blocks for the Greenwood team that went 26-4. With all these accolades under his belt, expectations continue to rise for the young wing.
Mohammed has always been one to let his game speak for itself. His social media following is not huge, he doesn’t speak to the media much and most of the communication on his behalf comes through his guardian, Shawn Harmon. Harmon is a former high school coach from the D.C.-Maryland-Virginia area who helped bring Mohammed to the United States from his home country of Nigeria and has played an active role in his development as a player over the past few years.
Throughout Mohammed’s college recruitment, Harmon has made it clear this process is about more than basketball. In an interview with 247Sports, Harmon emphasized how a college experience with John Thompson Jr. or Patrick Ewing (CAS ’85) could be about relationships that are “bigger than basketball.”
Ultimately, Thompson’s legacy proves exactly what Hoya basketball can be. In the wake of Thompson’s passing last month, the outpouring of love and support from the entire basketball community demonstrated the cultural relevance the Georgetown program had when he was head coach. Georgetown is not only one of the best sources of NBA talent in college basketball, but a community in which players can be challenged, supported and come out of the nation’s capital as confident, intelligent and evolved human beings.
As Harmon and Mohammed see, Georgetown basketball has a special history. Thompson was the first Black coach to win a Division I NCAA basketball title. He was known to tell his players: “Don’t let the sum total of your existence be 8-10 pounds of air.” His commitment to program relationships was also a central part of his tenure. As he said at the opening of the Nike Georgetown superstore, “Buildings don’t cause you to win, money doesn’t cause you to win, people cause you to win.” The man was a great basketball coach, but also a heroic advocate for racial justice and equality who helped block Proposition 42, an academic ineligibility policy that would have had a disproportionate effect on student-athletes from minority backgrounds. This sentiment seems to be important to Harmon.
After Thompson’s era, Georgetown also began to be featured heavily in the music world. Artists like Outkast and Jay-Z referenced the Hoyas in their songs, building off the effortlessly cool aesthetic Allen Iverson exhibited over his 15 years in the NBA.
The Hoyas are also leaders when it comes to student activism. When police killed Eric Garner, Georgetown was the first college team to wear “I Can’t Breathe” shirts, fighting for racial equality as Thompson had for so many years before.
Today, Ewing and his coaching staff need to continue to show recruits that, in spite of recent weaker performances, Georgetown basketball is known for past greatness on the court, but also for Thompson, pop culture, racial justice and relationships that last longer than basketball.
A Mohammed commitment would cement this legacy. Mohammed is a leader, a phenomenal basketball player and a D.C. local. He and Harmon see the program for what it is, and Mohammed would serve as the perfect ambassador for Hoya basketball, who would thrust Georgetown back into the limelight. He is polished and fundamentally sound but tough and competitive. He is intensely dedicated and disciplined. Throw in Ewing’s leadership, his NBA pedigree and other talented recruits Jordan Riley, Tyler Beard, Jalin Billingsley and even, perhaps, Ryan Mutombo, and you have a Hoya core that will be able to compete not only in the Big East but nationally. Hoya basketball is an iconic, legendary program, and Mohammed is the perfect fit to bring it back to its previous heights.
Caden Koontz is a sophomore in the School of Foreign Service. Hoya Headlines appears online every other week.