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Indiana Class of 2015 target Ahmad not your typical wing

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For more on basketball recruiting, follow Justin Kenny on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/jkenny_ns

6-foot-7 forward has grown to play further away from hoop

Saturday, May 3, 2014 - 5:56 am

Esa Ahmad does not see himself as your typical basketball player out on the wing.

The 6-foot-7 senior-to-be from Cleveland, Ohio may spend the majority of his time on the court on the perimeter, but he does not hesitate when an opportunity to bang inside opens up.

That is one of the reasons Ahmad has emerged as one of the top targets for Coach Tom Crean and Indiana in the 2015 recruiting cycle.

While adding not just height, but talented height remains a top priority, landing a versatile player like Ahmad that can help at multiple positions is always at the top of the list each cycle.

Ahmad, who plays for All-Ohio Red on the AAU circuit and Shaker Heights High School in Cleveland, spoke about Indiana at the Bill Hensley Memorial Run-N-Slam at Spiece Fieldhouse on Friday.

“I plan on visiting there soon,” said Ahmad about Indiana, which has offered a scholarship. “Tom Crean wants me to get down there.”

Ahmad has evolved from a power forward to more of a small forward with some guard tendencies, thereby making him a perfect fit on the wing. But he is still at his best when he is getting to the basket and using his athleticism to get to the hoop.

His ability to handle the basketball and shoot from the outside can further complicate matters for defenders.

“Right now I feel like I am a wing, but if I have a mismatch, I'll go down on the block,” Ahmad said. “A lot of colleges look at me like a 2 or a 3.”

The most recent offer for Ahmad may be his biggest yet as Ohio State put an offer out on Thursday in an attempt to keep him in the Buckeye State. Some consider him a heavy lean towards Coach Thad Matta's program, but plenty of other top-notch programs are not backing down, including Michigan and Michigan State.

“(Ohio State) is a big offer,” Ahmad said. “I grew up watching (them).”

Ahmad is ranked as a four-star recruit and the No. 98 prospect in the country by Rivals.com in the most recent Class of 2015 Rivals150.

Scout.com has Ahmad ranked as the No. 16 power forward in the country and a four-star prospect.

Despite the high praise as a power forward, Ahmad's future will likely be at the small forward spot at the next level. He is refining his game to fit the position, while still keeping that physical presence close to the hoop.

“I kind of grew up as the big man on my team on the block, now I'm on the perimeter a lot,” Ahmad said. “I am pretty comfortable with that.”