WVU basketball’s Esa Ahmad officially suspended


The WVU basketball team will be without the services of forward Esa Ahmad for the first part of the upcoming basketball season.

Throughout the offseason, it was speculated that Ahmad would be facing some sort of suspension and this week it was officially laid down. The suspension states Ahmad “did not meet eligibility requirements,” according to the Gazette-Mail.

WVMetroNews says that suspension can be traced to testing positive for a “street drug”  in an NCAA test.

Ahmad’s suspension will be for half of the 2017-18 season, which brings his start date to the beginning of January. Some of the big games he will be missing include non-conference tilts against Virginia, who the Mountaineers have developed a rivalry with in recent years, Pitt, who the WVU basketball team has long had a rivalry, and Texas A&M. The game against Texas A&M will be played in Germany.

Because the WVU basketball team has its sights set on making a run to the national title, all of the non-conference games will be looked at as must-wins. Without Ahmad, that task becomes even harder. Ahmad may have the most raw talent on the WVU basketball team, though he hasn’t always been able to use that to his full potential.

Ahmad has shown a history of inconsistencies that is also due to a lack of instinct and lapses in judgement. However, when he’s on, he can shoot and throw down with the best of them.

Related Story: Esa Ahmad can be a star for WVU basketball team

The 6-foot-8, 230-pound junior from Cleveland, has played in 34 games both his freshman and sophomore seasons. He saw his points per game average shoot up from four as a freshman to 11 last season.

Ahmad has also been counted on to be one of the team’s leading rebounders in the past two years. Without him, and Elijah Macon who chose to forgo his senior year, the WVU basketball team is thin with interior depth.

It’s a shame this had to happen to Ahmad, but he put himself in this bad position that hurts himself and his teammates. West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins won’t take any sympathy for one of his star players. Huggins has been around the game long enough to know how to handle these situations. As a coach, he is a big proponent of “tough love” and missing half a season will be tough on a player as talented as Ahmad.

This now gives some younger players a chance to step up and make a difference. According to WVUsports.com, there are five players who are at least as tall, or taller, than Ahmad. They are Maciej Bender, Wesley Harris, Sagaba Konate, Lamont West, and Logan Routt.

Next: All-time WVU basketball team

Some of those guys will see more playing time because of Ahmad’s suspension. They just have to make the most of this chance and help out the team.