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West Virginia’s Esa Ahmad returning to school

NIT Season Tip-Off

NEW YORK, NY - NOVEMBER 25: Esa Ahmad #23 of the West Virginia Mountaineers reacts after a basket against the Temple Owls in the second half during the championship game of the NIT Season Tip-Off at Barclays Center on November 25, 2016 in the Brooklyn borough of New York City. (Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images)

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It’s hard to call Esa Ahmad’s junior season anything but disappointing. The West Virginia big man didn’t make his season debut until Jan. 13 because he “did not meet NCAA eligibility requirements,” and then saw declines in his scoring and shooting percentages upon his return.

He’ll now be back in Morgantown for his senior season to try to turn things back in the right direction.

Ahmad, who declared for the NBA draft but did not hire an agent, will return to school for his senior season, according to multiple reports. West Virginia released a statement Tuesday afternoon confirming that Ahmad will return to school.

The 6-foot-8 Cleveland product averaged 10.2 points, 5.5 rebounds and 2 assists per game during his junior season while shooting 45.5 percent from the floor and 30.6 percent from 3-point range. Beyond missing the first half of the season, his production didn’t quite live up to the expectation of a player expected by many Big 12 onlookers to be among the best in the conference. While he may have lost some luster this past season, Ahmad is still very talented and will have the chance to prove it again with one final collegiate season.

West Virginia still is awaiting the decision on another of its testing-the-waters players. Sagaba Konate has entered the draft without hiring an agent, and received an invitation to the NBA draft combine in Chicago later this month. The 6-foot-8 forward averaged 10.8 points, 7.6 rebounds and 3.2 blocks per game last year.