Last season, the talented junior Bashir Ahmed brought a scoring verve to St. John’s... which sometimes worked (20+ points twice against Marquette and against Syracuse) and sometimes included a number of hastily-taken missed shots.
He was solid, and has a nice frame for the game, so he took some time this summer to see what NBA scouts would say about him.
Bashir Ahmed said he learned a lot by testing waters. Feedback was simple: More assists, better shooting percentage #sjubb— Zach Braziller (@NYPost_Brazille) October 26, 2017
Ahmed wasn’t one to always keep the ball moving - though his game was driven, in part, from a need for the Johnnies to have him create something with his physical frame.
Still, the forward who was willing to play many roles needs to step back a little, identify what he’s attacking, and hopefully get better matchups.
His body can draw contact, but many of his shots inside the arc came from bull drives into a set defense. St. John’s doesn’t have another player who does what he does; if Ahmed can be more efficient, he is a constant matchup problem. A look at his game, below.
By the numbers
Bashir Ahmed, scoring rate stats, all games
Bashir Ahmed non-scoring stats, all games
Bashir Ahmed, scoring rate stats, conference games
Bashir Ahmed, non-scoring stats, conference play
Three Things about Bashir Ahmed
Willing to bear the load. Bashir Ahmed’s shot selection came under scrutiny, and rightfully so; he missed some shots wide, seemed too eager to make a play, plus his drives were often into the waiting teeth of the defense. But on a team that really struggled with offensive lulls, especially in conference play, Ahmed’s willingness to take the hits and try to make a play is commendable.
He never laid off on offense, and took the highest percentage of shots while he was on the court.
This year’s team should be more mature in the ball-sharing concept, especially with Justin Simon more often at the point guard position. If all works well, Ahmed will still have chances to use his combination of size, quickness and brute force to create shots - but less frequently and less predictably.
Looking to improve in the team concept. In preseason games, Bashir Ahmed seems more willing to work within the team concept, passing the ball and sharing. But the team also needs him to be aggressive and make some shots.
Let it be noted that Ahmed was also a very willing rebounder, a willing defender and drew fouls; with another year of maturity, he could become more efficient as the squad gets comfortable with each other.
Can he be a plus defender? Ahmed has strength and length. In preseason play, he has defended forwards (with mixed success) and has found himself defending on the perimeter. He has decent feet and decent activity, and for St. John’s to employ a versatile, switchable lineup, Ahmed has to be a good two was player.
This season, Bashir Ahmed may be the third, fourth, or fifth player mentioned when talking about the Johnnies - two star guards, plus two high-profile transfers often catch the eye. Given his size and abilities, if those players play up to expectations, Ahmed will have less defensive attention on him - and can really explode in some games.
In the halfcourt, his size will continue to be an asset. That size, of course, means that Ahmed takes some harder shots than might be necessary; he can usually see over the defense, and may feel open all the time.
His decision-making will need to improve - knowing when to drive, knowing when to pull up, knowing when to shoot the three-pointer.