Jan 15, 2014; College Park, MD, USA; Maryland Terrapins head coach Mark Turgeon reacts to the teams first half play against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Comcast Center. Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports
After Maryland’s official visit last weekend, Shaker Heights forward Esa Ahmad took his official visit to West Virginia this past weekend and it appears the Mountaineers left a big impression on Ahmad. Per his father, the visit was “excellent. The coaching staff is great [at West Virginia]. We got a good look at a team and the guys in Esa’s class. We were pleasantly surprised.” Ahmad, his family and coach saw some things that they haven’t seen before, however. “We got to see the new housing and how [head coach Bob] Huggins would use Esa at West Virginia. [Huggins] loves his versatility and sees him as a player that can play him at the 1, 2, 3 or 4 position.” Very similar to what Turgeon told Esa, both coaching staffs are high on Esa’s versatility, high-IQ and ability to pass. At Maryland, he fit with the players very well, which is a big factor in his decision.
The next step is in-home visits, which will all take place this week. Although Ahmad’s dad said their official visit to Ohio State is “tentatively” set for this weekend, Ahmad will also meet with the Buckeye staff today for an in-home visit, following his in-home with Maryland. On Wednesday, West Virginia will visit Ahmad, while Oregon and Wisconsin will see the versatile forward on Thursday. Ahmad stated that Ohio State has yet to see how Ahmad will be used under Thad Matta, but they “will get a clearer vision after this weekend.”
Ahmad’s father disputed that Ohio State hasn’t been recruiting his son much recently, as he said they’ve “been recruiting [Esa] hard since the EYBL this summer. Confirming that “all schools are even right now,” he did say that “anything is possible” when asked whether Esa may commit to Ohio State this weekend. Nonetheless, Ahmad’s dad called the visits to both Maryland and West Virginia “tremendous.” After he takes all of his visits, Esa and his family will “weigh all the pros and cons of each school and will look to make his decision within the next few weeks.”
In terms of Maryland’s chances, the staff has really gone all out. Laying out the red carpet for their biggest target, Maryland certainly got tremendous reviews after their visit. “[We] love the area because Baltimore and DC are close by, the coaching staff is good and Esa likes the players they have down there.” With his IQ and the departure of seniors Dez Wells and Evan Smotrycz, the ability to play early certainly is available for Ahmad. It’s tough to beat out schools like Ohio State and West Virginia when Turgeon has yet to make a tournament in his four years as head coach of the program, but I do believe Maryland has a great shot at landing Ahmad.
This weekend, however, will tell a lot about where Ahmad stands in his recruitment. A lot of recruits have a special place in their heart for their home school. When your home school is Ohio State, it makes it that much tougher to convince a recruit to leave their home state. On the other side, Ohio State has not made Ahmad a priority the same way Maryland and West Virginia have. After tomorrow, Maryland will have to play the waiting game. But when the visit to Maryland is rated a “9.5 out of 10,” no one can count the Terps out of his recruitment.