WVU lands key pledge in Ahmad

The pledge from Esa Ahmad gives the West Virginia Mountaineers some needed versatility at the forward spot.

It is never easy to go into the state of Ohio and beat Ohio State out for a prospect, but that is exactly what West Virginia did on Wednesday. The Mountaineers added four-star power forward from Shaker Heights (Ohio) Esa Ahmad, and this is a big commitment.

Ahmad is a skilled forward who offensively can handle playing on the wing as well as a power forward, though defensively he is most ready to guard bigger players at the power forward position.

While not a tremendous athlete, Ahmad will fit in well next to the bigger and more physical players that the Mountaineers will have down low like fellow Ohio natives Devin Williams and Elijah Macon. With the two of them occupying space and in theory grabbing a lot of rebounds, that should free Ahmad up to be a playmaker on the wing on offense, and then on defense the hope would be that the size of Williams and Macon help to challenge shots at the rim and make up for some driving lines that will likely be there.

Overall Ahmad is not someone who is likely to leave early, so West Virginia is getting someone who should give them very good production for a long period of time. He is one of the more ready to contribute prospects in the class, and if he can respond to the conditioning and defensively mentality that Bob Huggins demands, it is not out of the question that Ahmad could earn starting minutes as freshman.

Assuming Ahmad does earn those early minutes and adapts to the ways of college basketball, West Virginia will have a very versatile player and Huggins will be able to use a variety of different combinations on offense because of what Ahmad does well, and his feel for the game.

Typically Huggins in the past has loved more of the long, athletic, and tough players, but now he seems to be moving to more skilled prospects who can shoot and stretch the defense from the forward spot. This is something that along with some athletic drivers in the guard spot can be a good recipe for success.

One thing has been consistent for Huggins, and that is his ability to win, and after a few down years, adding Ahmad and players of his ability level will no doubt get things turned around going forward in Morgantown.

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