Last year the Archbishop Carroll boys basketball team went winless, as the Lions finished 0-22 and faced a new low for the program.
Enter Aminu Mohammed.
Mohammed, a 6-foot-5, 175-pound do-everything point-forward, came into the varsity program this past season and immediately helped turn things around. Over the course of just a few months, Mohammed led Carroll to a 17-13 record (8-11 in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference) and a berth in the District of Columbia State Athletic Association where the Lions defeated Cesar Chavez Parkside before falling to St. John’s.
On Monday night, Mohammed was recognized for his efforts at the Metropolitan Awards at Wilson High School, as he was honored with the Freshman of the Year award.
“I want to thank God for blessing me to be able to play basketball – the sport that I love,” Mohammed said while at the podium. “Thanks to everybody who voted for me to receive this award, writers and friends.
“For me, it is not about individual achievements. The goal this year was to win and bring the respect back to Archbishop Carroll basketball. And we did that. Thank you to Carroll head coach Mike Powell and the coaching staff, and thanks to all of my teammates that helped make this possible. Indeed, it is a blessing.”
Mohammed played in 29 games for the Lions and averaged more than 19 points and 10 rebounds per game. According to The Washington Post’s statistics, he tallied 552 total points and 297 rebounds – making for a possible 2,000-point, 1,200-rebound career.
His season high for points was 35 against Bishop Ireton (where he also grabbed 18 rebounds), and he also dropped 33 against The Heights (where he also grabbed 19 rebounds). He scored less than 10 points just twice all season.
Furthermore, Mohammed posted 16 double-doubles. Ten of those came in succession from Jan. 23 to Feb. 13. Add all of that together and you have the area’s freshman of the year.
“It feels good,” he said. “With the help of my teammates, this is a great achievement. This year it wasn’t easy playing for Carroll who went 0-22 last year. We were trying to bring back the culture and respect to the team, to the school. It wasn’t easy, but we did it. So I am proud of that and I am proud of my teammates.”
Coming into this season, Mohammed was the second-rated freshman by Capitol Hoops behind Paul VI’s Trevor Keels. In the end, Mohammed got the last laugh as he beat out Keels – who was also a nominee – for the award.
Transitioning to the varsity game as a 13 or 14-year-old, and going up against more experienced 17 and 18-year-olds can be a hard thing to do. However, Mohammed said basketball isn’t about age. It is about one’s hard work and dedication to the game.
“I won’t say it was nothing much, but if you play basketball – it is not about age,” he said. “If you love the game, you are going to go out there against anybody. I just let my passion for the game raise my level of play.”
Still, he said there are two aspects of his game that he needs to work on.
“I need to work on my jump shot and mental toughness,” he said. “Those are the things that I need to get better at for next season.”
Regardless if Mohammed can iron those things out over the summer, he will still have three full seasons to wreak havoc on the rest of the WCAC before venturing off to a Division I university.
But for now, he is just happy to recollect on the things he accomplished this year.
“Making the All-WCAC first-team, and being one of the leading scorers and rebounders in the WCAC,” Mohammed said. “That was really big. And winning this award as well.”
Other Metropolitan Award winners:
Coach of the Year: Nick Myles, St. Frances;
Senior of the Year: Jermaine Harris, Rock Creek Christian;
Junior of the Year: Justin Moore, DeMatha Catholic;
Sophomore of the Year: Jeremy Roach, Paul VI and Adrian Baldwin, St. Frances;
Rising Star (Eighth grader): Shane Lancaster;
Play of the Year: Amir Nesbitt, Virginia Academy vs. Sidwell Friends;
Dunk of the Year: Jao Ituka, Gaithersburg vs. Paint Branch;
Leadership Award: Cam Savage, South Lakes;
Academic Achievement Award: Ike Nweke, Georgetown Prep.