For Watkins, a 6-9, 245-pound junior, that means the ability to recover from an ACL tear that sidelined the forward for the better portion of last year. After offseason surgery, Watkins describes his recovery, detailing the issues that still plague him and his timeline for being ready. WVU's best shot blocker in the early part of last year, the absence was felt late in the slate against the likes of Baylor in the Big 12 Tournament. Perhaps the most revealing statement by Watkins was that he could have been ready a bit earlier this year, but chose to put off the surgery until the end of last season's run to the Sweet 16. That's understandable, though it will cost West Virginia on the back end as the Georgia native isn't expected to attempt to play until December. Watkins, above, gets into the details of his rehabilitation program and his current status, as well as when he feels he can fully push the joint in full contact and game situations.
There are different circumstances for Ahmad, a highly-touted recruit entering his freshman season. A Scout.com four-star player, rated the 58th-best prospect nationally, Ahmad performed well in the Mountaineers' scrimmage against Temple. The Cleveland native hit for a somewhat surprising game-high 21 points in hitting 7-of-9 from the floor and 6-of-8 from the line. His defensive effort led head coach Bob Huggins to note that it wasn't who Ahmad could defend that would be key to his eventual position, but who he couldn't - meaning the staff was impressed with his overall ability against Temple in the 85-74 win. Still, Ahmad is adjusting to the increased speed at the collegiate level and will need to continue to mesh with the scheme and style of this year's squad. By all accounts, Ahmad has adjusted well, and shows the promise expected, though the showing in front of home crowds in the coming exhibition against Glenville State and the early smattering of home games are expected to reveal much more.
Ahmad, below, details those issues, including his abilities within a slightly different press, how he feels he fits into an offense expected to primarily run through All-Big 12 forward Devin Williams, and what he hopes to gain from the exhibition, as well as his comfort level with teammates and who has shown the propensity to lead both him and others as West Virginia tries to better its Sweet 16 showing from a season ago.