After Official,Ahmad Could See Himself At UMD

After Official,Ahmad Could See Himself At UMD

The Maryland hoops staff made some headway with one of its top class of 2015 recruit targets last weekend. Four-star power forward Esa Ahmad (Shaker Heights, Ohio) made the trip south with his father, Ibby Ahmad, for the 6-foot-7, 220-pounder’s first official visit.

The Maryland hoops staff made some headway with one of its top class of 2015 recruit targets last weekend. Four-star power forward Esa Ahmad (Shaker Heights, Ohio) made the trip south with his father, Ibby Ahmad, for the 6-foot-7, 220-pounder’s first official visit. The two spent a full 48 hours in College Park, Md., giving them a chance to interact with head coach Mark Turgeon, pick the brains of several current Terps, get a general feel for the school, and learn more about the program’s direction.

“Esa really loved it. He got a little more in-depth insight into the campus, the players and the staff,” Ibby Ahmad said. “He got a good look at how he would fit on the team, how [the staff] would use him, what it would be like if he went to school there. It was just a really good experience for both of us.”

Ibby Ahmad said one of the main questions was exactly how Esa Ahmad’s game translated to Maryland. They wanted to know how soon he might see the floor, and how the staff envisioned him evolving as a player.

“The thing I really liked, and Esa too, is Coach Turgeon doesn’t use numbers. He’s not going to say, ‘You’re a ‘3’ or you’re a ‘4,’” Ibby Ahmad said. “They want to use his versatility in different spots given that Esa is 6-8, can pass, dribble and shoot. They think he can play all over the floor, from the ‘2’ to the’4.’ And they said he’d have a chance to play early as well.”

Turgeon evidently left more of an impression with how he treated the Ahmads, and how thoroughly he explained his vision for UMD basketball. Ibby Ahmad explained how welcoming Turgeon and the staff was, and how comfortable his son was around the team.

“I personally really like Coach Turgeon, and Esa did as well. That was the first time I’d met him, and I really like him as a person and his coaching style,” Ibby Ahmad said. “Esa told Coach Turgeon he could see himself playing there, and I could as well.”

Interestingly, Ibby Ahmad said the two newest Terps hosted his son, Richaud Pack and Robert Carter. Apparently both transfers let Esa Ahmad know why they chose to leave their current squads (North Carolina A&T and Georgia Tech, respectively) and head to College Park instead. Basically, both believed in Turgeon’s message and think the Terps are moving in the right direction.

“I know Esa really thinks Maryland can build back up quickly. He really liked the guys they brought in, and the incoming recruits as well,” Ibby Ahmad said. “And [the UMD staff] told him he could be an early-impact type of guy there, and that’s something we’re looking for.”

Ibby Ahmad went on to explain one of the more unique aspects Maryland has going for it: location. Playing so close to Washington, D.C., is of particular intrigue to the Ohio forward.

“It’s a big-market area, with an excellent fan base in an excellent area,” Ibby Ahmad said. “We’re from the city, so we’re used to that. The facilities are beautiful there too, first class.”

The food apparently wasn’t bad either. The two were treated to a steak dinner at one of the nearby College Park restaurants.

“It was first-class food, man,” Ibby Ahmad said. “Steak and crab cakes … man, I’m still full from the weekend. We loved it.”

Next up for the Ahmads will be an official visit to West Virginia, likely this coming weekend. After that, they’ll check out Ohio State, with Wisconsin also in the picture if there’s time. WVU and OSU are considered the two primary contenders, along with UMD.

“Ohio State is a big-time program, and we want to get down there and see who they have coming in, how they’ll use [Esa], and what it’s like there. A lot is going to depend on who they have there, playing early, things like that,” Ibby Ahmad said. “And West Virginia, Coach [Bob] Huggins and his style, Esa really likes that. There’s a lot of pros that come out of the Big 12, and it’s a good opportunity for Esa there as well.”

Ibby Ahmad said some of the foremost factors the two are considering are early playing time, the other players entering the program, style of play (the preference is up-and-down and free flowing), and the chance to win big during Esa Ahmad’s tenure at the school.

Though many have speculated Ohio State and WVU could be the two front-runners, Ibby Ahmad said his son isn’t tipping his hand.

“Not leaning anywhere yet,” he said. “But hopefully by the end of the month we’ll have this [recruiting process] wrapped up.”

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