Esa Ahmad after Maryland visit: Terps 'really moved up'

Esa Ahmad after Maryland visit: Terps 'really moved up'
May 17, 2014, 12:30 pm
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(Associated Press)

HAMPTON, Va.--Maryland target Esa Ahmad was streaking down the right side of the floor in transition on Saturday. He was ushered to a harmless and ineffective spot under the rim by a defender while his teammate ultimately traveled, turning the ball over.

Realizing his mistake as the ball changed possession, he made eye contact with his coach and pointed upward while shaking his head, indicating that he should have called for an alley-oop.

That from the player who one possession earlier had taken a smaller defender down into the post and scored on him.

And that from the same player who, one possession later, would catch the ball and face up on the right wing before dribbling baseline, spinning back into the lane, and hitting a fadeaway short-range jumper.

All in a 6-8, 220-pound frame.

Ahmad's game is about offensive versatility - much of the reason why Maryland is so intrigued by him - as he showed in a series of possessions on Saturday. He can use his size to create space inside, while still being a threat in the face-up game or in the mid-range.

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Ahmad visited Maryland on his way to the tournament in Hampton this weekend, meeting with coach Mark Turgeon and assistants Dustin Clark and Bino Ranson. While on campus, he toured the Comcast Center and student dormitories.

"They just want to bring in good character people and they see that in me," Ahmad said on Saturday. "They were the first to realize how talented I was, so it's big for me."

Following the visit, Ahmad says, Maryland "really moved up" on the rising senior's list as he sets a timetable for when a decision will come.

Ohio State is likely among Maryland's toughest competition in the pursuit of Ahmad. He maintains that his recruitment remains open, but the mention of the Buckeyes forced a slight pause before answering.

"I'm still waiting it out, but I like Ohio State," he said. "I grew up watching Ohio State and visiting there and getting an offer was big for me."

He plans to visit West Virginia on Tuesday with Michigan State and Michigan to follow at a later date.

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