MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – West Virginia University basketball coach Bob Huggins has announced that Esa Ahmad and James “Beetle” Bolden have signed national letters of intent for the 2015-16 academic year.
Ahmad, a 6-foot-8, 220-pound forward from Shaker Heights, Ohio, currently attends Shaker Heights High, playing for coach Danny Young.
As a junior last season, Ahmad led Shaker Heights in points (26.5), rebounds (11.5), assists (3.5), blocks (2.0) and steals (2.0) per game.
He was named Player of the Year for the Northeast Lakes District and by the Associated Press for Division I in Ohio. Also named Player of the Year by Cleveland.com, Ahmad was named to the 2013-14 Associated Press Division I All-Ohio Boys Basketball First Team. As a sophomore, he was named to the Associated Press Division I All-Ohio Boys Basketball Second Team.
Among his big moments from his junior season came in the district tournament, when he scored 32 points against Bedford and 37 points against Euclid to lead the Raiders to the district title.
Currently ranked No. 43 in the Class of 2015 by ESPN.com, Ahmad participated in the Nike Global Challenge, the LeBron James Skills Academy, the Kevin Durant Skills Academy and the NBA Top 100 camp. He played AAU basketball for the All-Ohio Red.
“I do not know if we could have signed a better player to fill our needs,” said Huggins. “With us losing Juwan (Staten) next year, we needed to have someone who can bounce the ball and make plays. Esa is not only very good at creating scoring opportunities for himself but also at creating opportunities for his teammates. Our guys will enjoy playing with him because he is very adept at delivering the ball to open people.”
Bolden, a 6-foot-0, 170-pound guard from Covington, Kentucky, currently attends Holmes High, playing for coach Mike Listerman.
As a junior last season, Bolden averaged 20.8 points, 3.9 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.8 steals per game while leading his team to the finals of the Ninth Region tournament, falling to eventual state champion Covington Catholic. He shot 35.2 percent from 3-point range and 82 percent at the free throw line.
Bolden was one of three juniors to make the Louisville Courier-Journals All-State First Team and one of two sophomores to make the first team in 2013. He was named to the Lexington Herald-Leaders Boys All-State Basketball First Team as a junior and sophomore. Bolden is a two-time selection to the Kentucky All-State Basketball Team.
Bolden was named Player of the Year by the Northern Kentucky Boys Basketball Coaches Association and the Cincinnati Enquirer. He averaged 18.5 points, 4.0 assists, 4.6 rebounds and 2.6 steals, while shooting 42 percent from the 3-point line and 80 percent from the foul line as a sophomore. Holmes High finished the 2012-13 season with a 32-3 record and a spot in the Kentucky Sweet Sixteen second round, losing to eventual state champion in overtime.
Last season, he had 25 points and seven assists in a 77-55 win over George Rogers Clark (Ky.) and tallied 29 points, 11 rebounds against Long Island (N.Y.) Lutheran. Bolden played AAU basketball for the Kentucky Travelers.
“Obviously losing Juwan (Staten) and Gary (Browne) leaves us a void,” said Huggins. “We think that Beetle will come in and get valuable minutes his freshman season. He has been a winner at Holmes his entire career as well as on the AAU circuit. He brings a win-first attitude to the program.”
“It’s exciting to add two quality playmakers like these two. With an outstanding group of returning players, it should make for a great mix.”
Follow Mountaineer basketball on Twitter: @WVUhoops
Via WVU Sports Information