Georgetown's Aminu Mohammed sees Marcus Smart as NBA inspiration

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Georgetown's Mohammed sees Marcus Smart as inspiration originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

WASHINGTON -- As he flies from city to city to participate in NBA pre-draft workouts, former Georgetown guard Aminu Mohammed is also keeping an eye on the NBA Finals because he draws inspiration from Celtics star Marcus Smart.

Mohammed, 20, is about the same size as Smart and like the 2021-22 NBA Defensive Player of the Year, considers physical perimeter defense one of his biggest strengths.

"I think I can do that, do some of the stuff he does. Handle the ball, come off the pick-and-roll, he passes, he defends anybody. That’s something I want to do moving forward," Mohammed said.

Mohammed worked out for the Washington Wizards on Wednesday, not far from where he played his lone college season at Georgetown and also close to where he played high school ball at Archbishop Carroll in Northeast D.C. He was a 5-star recruit and a McDonald's All-American before playing for the Hoyas.

In one year at Georgetown, Mohammed averaged 13.7 points, 8.2 rebounds and 1.6 steals per game. He was named to the Big East All-Freshman team.

Mohammed decided to leave after just one year and, as he continues to operate through the pre-draft process, remains confident in that move.

"The decision wasn’t tough. I’ve always betted on myself. Before coming to my school at Georgetown, this is something that I’ve always said I’m going to do," Mohammed said.

Mohammed attended last month's draft combine in Chicago and measured in at 6-foot-5 with a 6-foot-11 wingspan. His length will be seen as a positive by teams evaluating his potential as a defender.

Before working out for the Wizards, Mohammed visited the Nets, Hawks, Spurs and Bulls. He has other workouts planned with the Kings and Blazers. Mohammed is currently projected to be picked in the second round.

Wherever he gets drafted or lands in a free agent deal, Mohammed believes he is on an upward trajectory and will bring plenty of upside to his next team. He thinks his shooting is a good example of that. Mohammed shot just 37.9% from the field and 31.0% from three last season for the Hoyas, but he has been training diligently to improve that part of his game.

"Right now it’s not all the way consistent, but I’ve been putting in work to get it better. It’s been getting better. Just imagine one year or two years from now, my shot will get better and I’ll be unstoppable a little bit. I want to be able to make shots, get to the basket, be consistent with the ball," he said.

NBA teams are paying close attention to Mohammed's offensive skillset during his pre-draft workouts. He has been running a lot of pick-and-rolls in scrimmages and drills, as teams are trying to test his decision-making with the ball in his hands. It wasn't his role at Georgetown, but Mohammed feels confident in how he has performed in workouts.

Mohammed has a unique resource in Hoyas head coach Patrick Ewing, his coach at Georgetown who was a Hall of Fame NBA player. Ewing has been offering Mohammed advice throughout the pre-draft process.

"He told me ‘just go in there, go hard, do what you’ve gotta do,'" Mohammed said.

Mohammed is trying to be the latest in an impressive line of NBA players with Nigerian heritage. Ten current NBA players have roots in the West African country, including two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo. The Nigerian national team had eight players with NBA experience on its 2020 Olympic roster.

Mohammed is now waiting for his chance to prove what he can do at the next level.

"It only takes one team. I’ve just gotta keep pushing," he said.

2022 NBA Draft profiles:

Jabari Smith Jr., Auburn

Chet Holmgren, Gonzaga

Jaden Ivey, Purdue

Paolo Banchero, Duke

Keegan Murray, Iowa

Shaedon Sharpe, Kentucky

Johnny Davis, Wisconsin

Jalen Duren, Memphis

Dyson Daniels, G-League Ignite

Ousmane Dieng, International

Tari Eason, LSU

Ochai Agbaji, Kansas

Kennedy Chandler, Tennessee

Malaki Branham, Ohio State

EJ Liddell, Ohio State

Darryl Morsell, Marquette