Can’t say it was a shock to see a report that says Ohio State’s LaQuinton Ross is going to turn pro. Still, it’s a big blow for Thad Matta’s squad, as Ross would have been the centerpiece of the 2014-15 squad.
Ross paced the Buckeyes in scoring (15.2 ppg) and rebounding (5.9 rpg) this season as a junior. He emerged toward the end of his sophomore season and carried that momentum into this past season. The 6-8, 220-pound Ross is a dynamic athletic who can get to the hoop off the dribble. He also is good shooter. But, consistency could be an issue at times for the Jackson, Miss., native.
With Ross gone, high-flying Sam Thompson will be Ohio State’s top returning scorer with a 7.9-average. Shannon Scott will run the show as a senior, but forward Marc Loving will need to make strides after an up-and-down freshman season and big men Amir Williams and Trey McDonald will need to do more. But Williams and McDonald may be who they are at this point in their careers: middling contributors.
The loss of Ross means the Buckeyes will be without three starters from last year’s team that went 25-10 overall and 10-8 in the Big Ten and was bounced in the first round of the NCAA tourney as a No. 6 seed by No. 11 Dayton. Also gone are point man Aaron Craft and forward Lenzelle Smith Jr. Furthermore, backup guard Amedeo Della Valle recently said he’s leaving after his sophomore season to play professionally in his native Italy.
The losses should be buffeted by the arrival of a decorated recruiting class that features five-star prospects in small forward Keita Bates-Diop and off-guard D’Angelo Russell. Small forward Jae’Sean Tate is a four-star recruit, according to rivals.com. Also, redshirt freshman Kameron Williams will provide a boost as an outside shooter.
|About Tom Dienhart||BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men’s basketball for BTN.com and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, read all of his work at btn.com/tomdienhart, and subscribe to his posts via RSS. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below and read all of his previous answers in his reader mailbag section.|
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