'I want to be in a role like Marcus Smart for the Celtics,' says Georgetown guard Aminu Mohammed




 

The Boston Celtics might not be thinking about the 2022 NBA draft as their primary focus at the moment given they are knotted up at 2 games apiece with the Golden State Warriors in the 2022 NBA Finals, but at least some of the organization remains focused on the looming draft and the talent they might be able to onboard with the No. 53 pick, their only selection of the draft.

And they might do well to bring in players who already see themselves as a kindred spirit in terms of the attention and effort they bring to the defensive end of the ball, such as Georgetown guard Aminu Mohammed.

A native of Lagos, Nigeria, who relocated to the US at age 14 to pursue basketball, Mohammed quickly rose through the ranks of NCAA prospects to become a five-star recruit ahead of electing to sign with the Hoyas for the next step of his career.

 

Mar 9, 2022; New York, NY, USA; Seton Hall Pirates guard Jared Rhoden (14) shoots the ball as Georgetown Hoyas guard Aminu Mohammed (0) defends during the second half of the Big East Conference Tournament at Madison Square Garden: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The 20-year-old freshman became just the ninth first-year player to lead the team in rebounding, putting up 13.7 points, 8.2 rebounds, 1.8 assists, and 1.6 steals in 31 games with Georgetown.

Possessing a 6-foot-11 wingspan and an ability to guard up well above his considerable 6-foot-5 stature, Mohammed was a notable standout at the draft combine in May, logging 15 points, 5 boards, 3 assists, and 1 block in 2 scrimmage games.

 

March 5, 2022; Cincinnati, Ohio, USA; Georgetown Hoyas guard Aminu Mohammed (0) drives on Xavier Musketeers guard Colby Jones (3) in the first half of the NCAA men's basketball game at Cintas Center: Albert Cesare-USA TODAY Sports

Most intriguing for Celtics fans for a player projected to be available for Boston when their pick arrives late in the second round is the Nigerian guard's interest in defending, modeling his game on a certain Defensive Player of the Year.

The editor of our sister site Rookie Wire, Cody Taylor, caught up with Mohammed for an interview ahead of the draft, and the Georgetown guard had plenty to say about the Celtics and how they influence his defensive philosophy.

 

Mar 9, 2022; New York, NY, USA; Seton Hall Pirates guard Jared Rhoden (14) dribbles against Georgetown Hoyas guard Aminu Mohammed (0) during the second half of the Big East Conference Tournament at Madison Square Garden: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

"Defense is something I take pride in," explained Mohammed to Rookie Wire.

"I think there'll be a great deal of opportunity," he added.

With the sort of size and athleticism coupled with his defensive orientation, Mohammed has shown he has the potential to grow into a role as an NBA rotation player.

And if he can improve his efficiency as a scorer with just 39.2% from 2-point range and 31.0% from deep, he could well carve out a long career at the next level; with a career free-throw rate of 72.2%, it isn't out of the question.

His tendency to turn the ball over at a fairly high rate is also an issue of concern, but given his perspective on the game and impressive physical gifts, he's more than worth a look for Boston late in the second round.

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