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The Maryland basketball staff's recruitment of Ohio forward Esa Ahmad remains an all-out pursuit. Wednesday night, the entire staff — head coach Mark Turgeon and assistants Dustin Clark and Bino Ranson — visited with Ahmad and his parents at his Cleveland home.
"They were just saying I'm a top priority and they want me to get to campus and visit," said Ahmad, a 6-foot-7 rising senior ranked the No. 17 power forward and No. 63 overall prospect in the 2015 247Composite. "I'm going to visit in May on my way to the Boo Williams [tournament]."
With power forward Charles Mitchell and small forward Jake Layman entering their respective junior seasons, Turgeon's in search of a skilled frontcourt player. The Terps have made it clear to Ahmad that his opportunity would arrive immediately in College Park.
"They say I could come in and play right away, maybe even start," said Ahmad, a rugged but skilled forward who averaged 25.7 points, 11.5 rebounds and three blocks per game for Shaker Heights (Ohio) High School en route to first-team all-state honors.
Ahmad's stock has risen recently, with schools like Ohio State, Michigan State, Pittsburgh, Wisconsin and Georgetown joining his recruitment. Maryland began recruiting him in the fall, before his name began to emerge nationally, and has offered a scholarship. So have West Virginia, Iowa State, Cincinnati, Kansas State, Virginia Tech, Iowa and others.
Who's been recruiting Ahmad the hardest?
"West Virginia; Maryland; of course; Iowa State; ... all of the schools, really," he said.
In addition to early opportunity, Maryland's staff has emphasized to Ahmad that he could be remembered as the signature Midwestern player to join the program before its move to the Big Ten Conference. Does Maryland's new affiliation affect his interest?
"It does. They've been telling me about that, too, about being the first recruit to come from Big 10 country. That's big to them," he said.
Maryland will have plenty of competition for Ahmad, who's sure to add new suitors and offers while playing for All-Ohio Red this spring and summer. But the Terps appear to have made an impression, and they'll take the next step in May by welcoming him for a campus visit.
"They're great coaches," Ahmad said. "They're really big on me, and I'm big on them."