To completely rebuild the program and take Pitt basketball to a level that he envisions, Jeff Capel and his staff will need to bring in major pieces to play for them. By major pieces, I’m referring to players that have the potential to play at the next level.
The good news for Pitt is that Capel knows what potential NBA players look like, having recruited many of them to Duke while serving as Coach K’s top assistant coach. The question now is how long will it take for him to do the same thing at Pitt?
Pitt has been able to get commitments from 2020 4-star center John Hugley, 2022 4-star guard Jalen Hood-Schifino, are currently pursuing 2021 5-star center Efton Reid and recently started building a relationship with another player that experts are forecasting has an NBA future.
2021 Aminu Mohammed is a 5-star guard/wing from Greenwood Laboratory High School in Washington DC. Mohammed is a huge talent that 247 Sports ranks as one of the Top 20 juniors and Top 4 forwards in the country. As you can imagine, landing a player with Mohammed’s credentials won’t be easy but the Pitt staff is trying to do just that.
Mohammed (6’4″, 175) is originally from Nigeria but moved to the United States in order to get a better high school and eventual college education. Like his older brother, Kabir, did, Aminu moved to the DC area to live with Shawn Harmon, who’s serving as the brothers guardians. Kabir Mohammed is now playing basketball for Missouri State.
Over the weekend, Pittsburgh Sports Now talked with Harmon about Aminu Mohammed, his initial conversation with Pitt and Harmon’s thoughts on Capel and the Pitt program.
“We first started hearing from Pitt around the start of the ACC Tournament,” Harmon told Pittsburgh Sports Now. “I remember that because Coach O’Toole reached out to me after he initially reached out to Aminu and let us know that they’d be playing so that we can tune in and check them out.”
“I’m very familiar with Pitt anyways because of a young man I know from the DC area, Xavier Johnson. Aminu is still learning American basketball so I guess it’s fortunate for him that I’ve been around and followed college basketball all my life. I’m very familiar with Pittsburgh from being in the Big East and now in the ACC. I’m able to give him a little education on different programs. Right now, Aminu is just trying to figure out the landscape of college basketball.”
Being his guardian and his family now, Harmon is going to do his best to give his advice and thoughts to Mohammed on all the schools that approach him since eventually picking a college will be one of his first adult decisions. When it comes time to talk to him about Pitt, that’ll be easy for Harmon since he’s familiar with them growing up in Akron, Ohio.
“I would say that I’m a student of the game in terms of basketball,” said Harmon. “I’m familiar with Pitt, they had Jerome Lane, kid from the Ohio area that I’m familiar with. I followed the Big East a lot growing up. I was a big Tony Dorsett fan growing up. I’m going to be able to help him in terms of educating him on the different conferences, the coaches and the history of the programs.”
“I know that Coach Capel comes from a coaching tree in terms of his family. His dad was a coach, his brother played and coached and he played for and coached with Coach K at Duke. I’m familiar with him from playing basketball and him being a head coach.”
Because of COVID-19, Mohammed’s recruitment is in a standstill as far as being able to visit some of the programs that are reaching out to him and that he has initial interest in. Harmon tells PSN that the only school that Mohammed’s visited has been Maryland, mostly because of the proximity.
“We plan on making more visits when the traveling restrictions are lifted and he’ll get a chance to make a couple official visits. We haven’t gotten that far in terms of our relationship with Pitt to determine yet as to whether that’ll be one of the places that he visits. While we haven’t made a decision like that yet, it is a school that interests him. Like I said, I’m familiar with Coach Capel and feel that’s he’s done a good job so far at Pitt. Pittsburgh is a tough school to recruit at but I think he can do it but he’s going to have to be able to do it at a national level.”
When talking about the skillset of Mohammed, Harmon says that while he’s playing wing now, he believes that he’ll eventually transition to guard. He described his strengths as his energy, physical as a guard, can guard multiple positions and does a good job of getting “downhill” and scoring in traffic.
“The most exciting thing is that his best days are ahead of him because he’s really still learning the game of basketball.”