Busting Brackets

West Virginia Basketball: Esa Ahmad Ineligible for first half of ’17-’18


The West Virginia Mountaineers will be without another forward to start the year after Esa Ahmad is ruled ineligible.

West Virginia announced on Tuesday that junior forward Esa Ahmad has been ruled ineligible for the first half of the upcoming basketball season due to “NCAA eligibility requirements”

The Cleveland, Ohio native is coming off of a great year in which he averaged 11.3 points and 4.3 rebounds for the Mountaineers, and was expected to take on a larger role in the upcoming season.

Earlier in the offseason, it was rumored that Ahmad would be facing a lengthy suspension due to a failed drug test following their NCAA Tournament exit, but it seems he will miss time due to an academic issue.

The 6-foot-8 wing was expected to pick up a lot of the slack for the Mountaineers in the frontcourt after losing Nathan Adrian, Brandon Watkins, and Elijah Macon to either graduation or the draft.

West Virginia will now turn to sophomore’s Lamont West, Sagaba Konate, and James Bolden to hold their own up front.

This not only hurts their on-court experience but also their depth. Bob Huggins always likes to go deep into his bench, playing upwards of 11 guys throughout the game.

Ahmed will miss the first semester, causing him to miss all non-conference games as well as the first couple Big 12 games. He will be eligible to return for their January 9 game against Baylor.

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The Mountaineers finished last season with a 28-9 record, good enough for a Sweet 16 appearance against eventual National Runner-Up Gonzaga.