Portland Trail Blazers forward Al-Farouq Aminu has been chosen as the recipient of the 2016-17 Maurice Lucas Award, the team announced today. President of Basketball Operations Neil Olshey and President & CEO Chris McGowan will present the award to Aminu during halftime of tonight’s Trail Blazers game against the San Antonio Spurs at the Moda Center.
The annual award was created in 2010-11 to honor the Trail Blazers player who best represents the indomitable spirit of Maurice Lucas through his contributions on the court and in the community, as well as in support of his teammates and the organization. In honor of the award, the Trail Blazers will make a $5,000 donation to a charity chosen by Aminu.
“For the past two seasons, Al-Farouq has willingly accepted and thrived in any role asked of him,” said Olshey. “His unwavering commitment on the defensive end of the floor and the toughness he exhibits on the glass on a nightly basis make him an ideal recipient of the Maurice Lucas Award.”
In his second season in Portland, Aminu is averaging 8.8 points and 7.5 rebounds (second on team) in 60 games (25 starts). Since the beginning of February, Aminu has averaged 10.4 points and 7.9 rebounds while shooting 40.6% from beyond the 3-point line. He recently scored in double figures in a career-best six straight games from March 28-April 6.
“It’s important for our organization to recognize players who give their all on and off the basketball court, and there was no better example than Maurice Lucas,” said McGowan. “Al-Farouq exhibits a team-first attitude and commitment to the community that makes him a deserving recipient of this year’s honor.”
Former Trail Blazers All-Star Maurice Lucas passed away on October 31, 2010 at the age of 58. A beloved member of the franchise and the community, “The Enforcer” was a central figure on the Trail Blazers 1976-77 NBA Championship team. The Trail Blazers honored Lucas by retiring his uniform number (No. 20) on Nov. 4, 1988.
Lucas averaged 15.6 points, 8.7 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 0.72 blocked shots over five seasons (1976-80, 1987-88) as a Trail Blazer. During Portland’s 1976-77 NBA Championship season, Lucas led the team in scoring (20.2), field goals made (8.0), free throws made (4.2), offensive rebounds (2.4) and minutes (36.2).
Selected to the All-Star Game in three straight seasons from 1977-79, Lucas is one of five three-time All-Stars in Trail Blazers history (LaMarcus Aldridge, Clyde Drexler, Brandon Roy, Sidney Wicks). He most recently served as an assistant coach with the Trail Blazers for five seasons from 2005-10, and previously in 1988-89.