Basketball Recruiting Notebook: Buckeyes Set Sights on Ahmad

By Mike Young on April 17, 2014 at 4:00p

via Esa Ahmad, ‏@IDoIt_Nike23


The additions of Anthony Lee and Trevor Thompson added to Ohio State's frontcourt depth, but they're still lacking the "stretch four" that has been a staple in Thad Matta's offense. 

LaQuinton Ross' exit opens up a void at a position that doesn't have a successor. Marc Loving has the length and shooting touch, but not the physicality of a Ross or Deshaun Thomas. Based on Lee's first three years at Temple, he doesn't have the range to help spread the floor. 

No incoming freshman fits there, so it's up to Matta to add someone for 2015-16. Mickey Mitchell may be the answer, but the Buckeyes will want to add another dynamic player, who can play on the wing and has the length to play in the post. Carlton Bragg is the ideal fit, but he's not the only Northeast Ohio recruit OSU is after.

Last week, Matta traveled to Shaker Heights for an in-person visit with Esa Ahmad. The 6-foot-7-inch, 220 pound forward is an all-around threat and was the Associated Press' Division-I Co-Player of the Year in Ohio. 

After a strong high school season and early dominance in AAU ball, Ahmad is showing why he has offers from Indiana, Iowa State, Maryland and West Virginia. The Ohio State staff is quite familiar with Ahmad, but, despite the amount of time they've spent scouting him, the head coach has yet to see him in person. That will change soon, according to Ahmad's father.

"Thad said he never offers without seeing the player play in person," Ibby Ahmad told Eleven Warriors. "He's coming to see Esa in Sacramento on [April] 25."

By that point, Esa will play with his All-Ohio Red AAU squad in their third EYBL session. Perhaps an Ohio State offer will follow. 

To gather your own opinion on if Matta should offer Ahmad, check this out (via Scarberry Media):

OSU Expected to See More of Battle

With a short amount of time left in the recruiting period (from April 18-23) and only three days in the evaluation period, the Buckeye staff is attempting to visit or watch as many prospects as possible. 

In addition to Ahmad, Ohio State will reportedly check in on five-star, 2016 G Tyus Battle. According to, OSU coaches will likely be in New Jersey to visit Battle during the final days of the recruiting period.

As I've written in the notebook before, Battle's high school coach compares him to another New Jersey product – Cleveland Cavaliers point guard Kyrie Irving. At least one of them is still busy in late April.

Howard Picks The Orange

The Buckeyes recently struck out in their recruitment of an elite combo guard, however.

Franklin Howard, a four-star guard in the 2015 class, chose Syracuse over Ohio State, Georgetown, Maryland N.C. State and Virginia.

Among the reasons he committed to Jim Boeheim? He actually likes playing in a 2-3 zone. Plus, Boeheim has a history of sending players with a similar skill set to the NBA – Dion Waiters, Michael Carter-Williams and, eventually, Tyler Ennis. 

Howard's AAU coach also described him as a point guard, meaning he would not be the best fit in a Buckeye class that will include A.J. Harris. 

MYles Turner Closing In On Decision

Recent speculation surrounding the top remaining player in the 2014 class had him cutting down his list.

In a report attributed to ESPN's Chad Ford, Myles Turner is supposedly down to three schools – Kansas, SMU and Texas. Turner responded via Twitter:

Fortunately, he'll soon put an end to all the rumors. According to ESPN's Paul Biancardi, Turner will announce his commitment on April 30.

Turner said he's still considering Ohio State, in addition to Duke, Kansas, Oklahoma State, SMU Texas and Texas A&M. While practicing for the Jordan Brand Classic in New York, he spoke to about the recent report.

"I definitely have favorites," Turner said, "but I never put it out there who my favorites are."

While he's not revealing anything, most believe Kansas and Texas are the front runners. Turner has continued to speak highly of Matta and the Buckeyes, however.

"They need a big, as well. They don’t have a true center at this point," Turner told "Coach Matta, I really like him and his whole coaching staff. I've talked to them, they’re one of the schools that I’ve talked to the most."


Comments Show All Comments

osubuck57's picture

Hoping Myles picks us, but not real confident. He is right, we need a "true big"!! If he chooses elsewhere, I would definitely offer Esa. Love the Ohio kids we can keep in-state.


+2 HS
buckeyeradar's picture

Ah Mr. Turner you could be a part of something great at The Ohio State University.  Come join us.

I may not be the sharpest crayon in the box but I'm one of the most colorful.

+3 HS
mrspray's picture

NO FREAKING KIDDING - i think OSU is a legit final four candidate with Myles Turner on that team...

In case you're curious, it's Mr. Spray

+1 HS
tennbuckeye19's picture

I would love OSU to land Carlton Bragg, but I'm not sure that's realistic when the kid is so enamored with Kentucky. I think Esa Ahmad would be a fine consolation and a solid pickup for Matta.

Any word on Daniel Giddens? Does the commitment of Trevor Thompson make landing Giddens less likely? To me Giddens seems like the better player.

ITWASME's picture

I really want Giddens and his teammate too

gm3jones's picture

Still a pipe dream. Sorry, but I just dont see him coming here.

There is nothing more remarkable as learning to think better.

pdan46's picture

I would love to see Thad get Bragg, Ahmad, and Giddens.  I do not believe that Turner is going to choose OSU.  What is the status of Giddens?  I know that Bragg is rated higher than Ahmad, but it seems as though Ahmad is excellent too.  

Sounds like Battle is someone we want for 2016.  Based upon the comparison to Irving, I assume he is a PG. Harris will need the help for 2016 and beyond.

Gametime's picture

Adding Myles Turner to the class we have coming in would instantly make us a top 5, (possibly top 3 team) and immediate contenders for the NCAA title. A team with a starting 5 of Scott, Russell, Thompson, Lee, and Turner, with Kam Williams, Jae-Sean Tate, Marc Loving, Bates-Diop, & Bell would give us crazy depth, length, and shooters.

He should just come in and be the centerpiece of this class. He could operate the stretch role with his  shooting touch while pulling the opposing center away from the basket allowing our slashers to go to the hole! C'mon Thad, seal the deal!

Between goals and achievement is discipline and consistency. That fire you have inside to do whatever you love is placed there by God. Now go claim it. ~ Denzel Washington

d5k's picture

I think I asked in the last basketball recruiting topic, but has there been any news on Mickey Mitchell or is no news good news?

Not sure we can fit Bragg, Ahmad and Giddens all in the 2015 class.  2 out of 3 wouldn't be bad though.  We would go from too few bigs to too many (if possible).  I'm always worried that a guy like Russell will be 1 and done if he has a great freshman year and then we would be really hurting for guards.

KevinJ's picture

I think you are right, and I can't see all 3 of Bragg, Giddens, and Ahmad if Mitchell sticks which I guess no news is good news. Thad will have 7 open scholarships for 2015, and you would have to think he'll at least bank 2 for 2016, for King and Funderburk. I think Thad will need a point or combo guard in 2016 as well. 

Mike who do you think will make up the 2015 class?

skid21's picture

Mitchell sticks which I guess no news is good news.

We can only hope. I'm not having a good feeling about this commit due to known family issues. I hope we can hear some certain news soon one way or the other.

ToetotheFace's picture This article suggests he is not thinking about transferring, but I have nothing else to go on. I hope not though, because he is probably one of the best players in the class, his drop is merely due to an injury from football that prevented him from playing during his SO year.

sb97's picture

I appreciate the Basketbucks recruiting update!  Thank you.

ODEEZ330's picture

Ahmad is much better then bragg imo. Bragg is amir 2.0 i've officiated both in aau and ahmad is the better basketball player but bragg is more athletic

stark county football

+2 HS
James Mee's picture

I hope we offer Esa and Thad's recent magic touch can pull a coup and land us Myles Turner. I think that would put us in a great spot to take the Big Ten and maybe take down the whole thing. 

Fuzzbuck's picture

Might as well count Myles out- slim and no chance he comes to OSU. Watched Bragg play a few times and I got to say he didn't really impress me like a top ten player should. He has had some injuries though so maybe I am off base. Looked a little disinterested though. Better pick up Esa and move on to others that are not enamored with UK.

-1 HS
chowoon97's picture

Don't give up on Myles Turner.

+2 HS
pdan46's picture

Not giving up on Turner, but you have to be realistic!  Turner as a Buckeye is very unlikely especially with the Center for Kansas declaring for the NBA.  Giddens is much more realistic and I definitely want him to commit and team with Thompson for a terrific big man combination for several years.

Seattle Linga's picture

I absolutely love Esa - Loved him from the moment he suited up for Shaker Heights. Here's hoping he comes through to the Buckeyes!

+2 HS
Osurrt's picture

We definitely need bigs....never have enough in the tough Big 10 season. Not to mention the chance that some of these guys are here and gone in 1-2 seasons.

ToetotheFace's picture

With the athleticism, ball handling, ability to create for others; I actually think Mickey will end up a SF, not a PF. I know he isn't getting as much hype as some others, but I think part of that is the early commitment and the time he has spent off with his injury. Otherwise he wouldn't have been offered by top 5 programs like Duke, Kentucky, and Kansas. I'm really excited to see him play for OSU

Bragg would obviously be an excellent signing for the stretch four OSU is missing, but Esa Ahmad is a great second option if Bragg ends up with Kentucky.  


pdan46's picture

Love to see both Bragg and Ahmad as Buckeyes, along with Giddens.

BPOSU's picture

Has anyone heard any update whether Mickey is still planning on coming?

"Terrelle, are you coming back next year?" ..."Ahight"