MORGANTOWN, W.Va.–West Virginia University’s Esa Ahmad is going through some growing pains this season.
The 6-foot-8, 225-pound forward has yet to find his stride with the Mountaineers.
“He’s just going through a freshman thing,” junior forward Devin Williams said. “We’ve all been there. He’s just go to keep his head up. Just keep working and keep playing and understand that this is the college life now. Esa is a great player and he’s going to be a great player.”
Ahmad averaged 23.3 points, 10.2 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 2.5 blocks and 1.6 steals per game as a senior at Shaker Heights High. He was named Player of the Year for the Northeast Lakes District and by the Associated Press for Division I in Ohio for two straight seasons.
However, the Cleveland, Ohio native isn’t having that kind of success with WVU just yet.
In 10 games, Ahmad is averaging 5.0 points and 3.5 rebounds per game. Not the kind of stats the highly regarded freshman is used to.
But Ahmad is just that, a freshman.
He’s got to stop throwing the ball away,” WVU head coach Bob Huggins said. “Esa is a guy we thought we were going to run offense through and he just hasn’t learned that people are bigger, stronger and faster and more athletic. You can’t get away with putting the ball over your head and passing it. You’ve got to move people’s hands. You’ve got to do some things.”
“There’s just some stuff he doesn’t understand,” Williams said after WVU beat Marshall on Thursday. “Just understanding how big this game is for the state, understanding the college game a little better. But he is going to come around. We know what type of player he is and the coaching staff do too.”
Williams was once a freshman trying to figure out the game at the college level. Everyone has been there. For some it just comes quicker than others.
Ahmad understands the game. He has shown before that he can be a star. It is just a matter of learning at a higher level and putting everything together.
When Ahmad finally puts it all together, opponents are going to be in trouble.