Basketball Recruiting Notebook: Ahmad Leads AAU Squad to Peach Jam

By Mike Young on June 6, 2014 at 3:00p

By the end of the AAU season, All-Ohio Red coach Marcus Gill hopes his team can ascend to the same heights as the one that featured Jared Sullinger and Aaron Craft.

The 2009 All-Ohio Red 17U squad – which also had Adreian Payne, Jordan Sibert and J.D. Weatherspoon – won the Nike Peach Jam that year, the same tournament the 2014 version just qualified for. After going 13-3 in the 2014 EYBL regular season, Gill believes the All-Ohio Red can pull of the same feat as the 2009 group.

"We want to go down there and carry the momentum we built throughout the season and compete to win in the Peach Jam," Gill told Eleven Warriors. "We really like our team this year, I like the way we're playing, I like the makeup of our team and I think we have a legitimate shot to compete for a championship."

Their first game in the Peach Jam, which takes place in North Augusta, S.C., will be July 17.

Ahmad, The Catalyst

One of the biggest reasons for the All-Ohio Red's success – both physically and metaphorically – is Shaker Heights native Esa Ahmad.

In the past year, he's received offers from Indiana, Wisconsin and Ohio State. High-major programs are finally starting to notice Ahmad's versatility, which is highlighted by the makeup of his AAU team.

"In high school, he scores more points than he does for us. But, for us, he does a little bit of everything," Gill said. "We have a bunch of guys that can score it on our team and he realizes that."

Ahmad is averaging 12.6 points per game, the second highest mark on the team. He does lead the team in rebounding, however, and only has 10 fewer assists than guard Josh Williams.

"Esa is what you'd call a 'matchup problem,'" Gill said. "If you try to put a big guy on Esa, we let him play on the perimeter and he can take the defender off the bounce. If they try to put a smaller guy on Esa, we put him down on the block and he's really good down there." 

Ahmad led Shaker Heights in points (26.5), rebounds (11.5), assists (3.5), blocks (2) and steals (2) per game. He led the Raiders to a district title, but fell short of an appearance in the state Final Four. 

With one year left in his high school career, he has another shot to get to Columbus and, individually, repeat his award winning 2013-14 season. His potential is well beyond "regional player of the year" caliber, according to Gill.

"Esa could be a pro," Gill said. "He's 6-8, versatile, he's got his body together where, now, he's playing above the rim and he wasn't really doing that a couple years ago. When he gets to college and they turn all of that into muscle, really getting him into the weight room, his ceiling can be a pro."

Ahmad visited Maryland and West Virginia in May, telling's Jason Morrow he plans to cut his list during the summer. 

Gill On Other Top Prospects

Jalen Coleman (offers from Ohio State, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State)

"Jalen can play anywhere in the country . . . A lot of people think the best thing he's got going for him is that he's a knock-down shooter, but I think it's how hard he plays. It doesn't matter who we play against. Sometimes we step on the floor and we're more talented than the other team. Other times, we're an underdog. Doesn't matter who we're playing, Jalen is going 110 percent. On top of that, he can really shoot the ball."

Noah Bramlage (offers from Harvard, Miami University, Princeton, Yale)

"He's starting to get some looks because he's a stretch-four that can shoot the ball. A lot of Ivy League schools love Noah and some high-majors are looking at him, but haven't pulled the trigger yet." 

Jordan Dartis

"When he's playing, he's shooting a [67 percent] clip from three. He's a combo guard, he can really shoot it. He came back two weeks ago, just for one game, and went 5-6 from three, then got hurt again."

MaCio Teague (offers from Akron, Seton Hall, Yale)

"Same as Noah, Ivys like him and has some mid-major stuff . . . I've been telling people he's our sleeper and he's a kid that plays hard all of the time."

D'Mitrik Trice (offers from Akron, Cleveland State, Toledo)

"He has basketball in his blood and he's pretty good, but he's been hurt, as well."

Ahmad Wagner (offers from Iowa, Minnesota)

"Scouts are loving him right now because he's so tough. He can guard anybody and he's athletic . . . He's a glue guy."


Comments Show All Comments

wyatt's picture

Ahmad can shoot with either hand, can pass and handles the ball well for a big man.  And shoot free throws?  

+2 HS
osubuck57's picture

Fingers crossed we can land Esa. He would be the icing to a great class!!


+2 HS
skid21's picture

Ahmad has been overshadowed by Bragg and Kennard but I would not be surprised if he turned out being the best college player of them all. Really hoping Thad can get his commitment.

+3 HS
Seattle Linga's picture

This kid is going to have an outstanding senior year. I have wanted him for a very long time. If we land him - it's going to be showtime all over again!

+2 HS
DenBuck's picture

Esa, yes please. GREAT CLASS!

Buckeye For Life

+1 HS
skid21's picture

It is a great class so far. I think AJ is one of the most underrated players in the class due to his size but that kid is electric. Grandstaff is a more athletic Diebs and Mitchell is already a man amongst boys.

Shangheyed's picture

Still growing too... if he gets 2 more inches with that kind of athletisism and skill-set... WOW.

+1 HS
PHABrutha's picture

It's amazing how Josh Williams from Akron St.V St.M still gets no respect even from his AAU coach! Smh...the kid wasn't even mentioned in this article and I do believe that he is leading the team in assist. Real recognizes real and respect is earned. This is a talented team All Ohio has comprised but pay due respect to the entire team not just a few. I guess committing to Akron, being an honor student and one of the best combo guards in the state  doesn't fly in the buckeye state! 

Derrick greenwade

Nick's picture

The coach is just trying to talk about the uncommitted players to find a place for him. If Williams is committed to a school and likes it there is no reason to talk about him in a recruiting pitch.

CentralFloridaBuckeye's picture

Nice!  Ahmad doing work under the basket!  Looking good.  Can't wait to get him on campus!

Go Bucks!!

+1 HS
pdan46's picture

Coach Matta needs to get a commitment from Ahmad. I know that Bragg has the big reputation but Ahmad seems like a kid who can and will do whatever his team needs him to do to win!

+1 HS