Wagner Discusses Iowa Commitment

Ahmad Wagner recently set up official visits to Iowa and Toledo. Sunday, he decided he'd only be taking one of them when he verbally committed to the Hawkeyes. The Ohio forward talked with HI about his decision.

Four years ago, Fran McCaffery dipped into Ohio for what he felt was a very under-recruited forward. Aaron White has proven that the Iowa coach knew what he was doing.

McCaffery hoped to strike again in the Buckeye State, offering versatile front-courter Ahmad Wagner a scholarship in May. The Huber Heights (Dayton area) Wayne High product accepted it on Sunday, becoming the Hawkeyes' third verbal commitment in the Class of 2015. Brandon Hutton and Andrew Fleming already were in the fold.

The 6-foot-7, 215-pound Wagner's other reported Power-5 conference scholarship offers were from Minnesota and Texas Tech. Four-stars Esa Ahmad, Jalen Coleman and others overshadowed him on the All Ohio Red AAU squad.

"I've always flown under the radar," Wagner said. "I've never been the one that the interviewers go to or get all the publicity but it really doesn't matter to me. I'm just a guy looking to help the team win. If I need to be a superstar that day, I'll be a superstar. If I need to be a role player, then I'll be a role player. I'm going to try to help my team win."

White chose Iowa head of Duquesne. Last year, he earned all-Big Ten honors for the second season in a row. Hawkeye guard Roy Devyn Marble was selected in the second round of the NBA Draft in June after receiving a modest level of pursuit by colleges coming out of high school.

Wagner set up official visits to Iowa and Toledo last week. Sunday, he decided to end the process.

"I was talking with my high school coach. We were talking about schools and I told him that Iowa was ahead of all the rest. He agreed with me. He told me that if Iowa was my No. 1 with all these other schools getting commitments and other people committing to schools that there's no need to wait. I agreed. I sat down with my parents and we decided that it was the right decision," Wagner said.

Wagner committed to Iowa without ever stepping foot on campus. He was scheduled to do so for the first time on his official visit (Sept. 6).

"It all comes down to trust. I trust what the coaches have told me; what they told me about the school and the atmosphere and the people there. I believe that they're going to be my coaches for the next four years. I have to believe them. I trust them 100 percent of the way. I believe it's going to be fine when I go up there. I have no doubts in my mind," Wagner said.

Wagner said McCaffery contacted him frequently during the process. The coach told him that he was needed.

"Coach always tells me that he doesn't see me coming in and being good as a sophomore or coming in and being good as a junior. He sees me impacting the team as a freshman. That's always good to hear," Wagner said.

White will be a senior this fall and fellow forward Jarrod Uthoff a junior. Melsahn Basabe and Zach McCabe are absent from the front court after using up their eligibility last year.

"(McCaffery) told me that I'm a guy that can do it all for them. I think I'm a versatile three man. I can go down low if I need to. I can go on the wing if I need to. Smaller defender, bigger defender, I can take advantage of that. On the defensive end, I can guard the one through five. I'm athletic. I'm long. I'm pretty fast," Wagner said.

Wagner, who is leaning towards a business major, felt relieved to have his decision made.

"It's a big weight off my shoulders. It's a humbling experience going through this recruiting process. It's long, It's tiring. But it's also fun and rewarding," he said.

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