The Give and Take of LaQuinton Ross

January 13, 2014 at 11:03a    by DJ Byrnes    
40 Comments
LaQuinton Ross

Ohio State junior forward LaQuinton Ross has been Ohio State's most maddening player this season, and that's a testament to the talent that drips from him during large portions of the game. It's also unfortunate to Ross because it means his bad stretches are as bad as his good stretches are good. 

The up-and-down campaign of LaQuinton has been picked up by the national media. From College Basketball Talk:

On Sunday, you saw the best and the worst of Ross. He was terrific on the offensive end of the floor, finishing with 22 points, seven boards and three assists. But he also committed three back-breaking turnovers in the final four minutes, allowing Iowa to regain the lead.

Here’s the catch: Matta really has no choice but to play Ross. If he’s not the most important player on the Ohio State roster, he’s not all that far behind Aaron Craft. They need his scoring simply because they have no one else on their roster that is as much of a threat on that end of the floor. Think about it like this: when Ross is on the bench, Ohio State’s best five is probably Craft, Shannon Scott, Lenzelle Smith, Sam Thompson and Amir Williams.

Who, out of that group, scares you offensively if you’re an opposing coach?

Like it or not, it appears Ohio State's hopes will ride on LaQuinton Ross' shoulders.


40 Comments

Comments

BuckeyeOfTheTiger's picture

I hope the thought of losing minutes to a freshman in Loving would motivate him to up his game a little bit... Time will tell.

FLAMikey's picture

Ross often looks outmatched physically. He doesn't defend or block out with tenacity. Matta had to take him out against Sparty as he was getting pushed into the parking lot by MSU's bigs. He can score and he is a decent rebounder, but the rest of his game needs considerable work.

BuckeyeSki's picture

The Give and Take of LaQuinton Ross

Q gives us ulcers because he takes bad shots?

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Kindell's picture

I think they need to come up with a better game plan on offense.  Q has a lot of ability on the offensive end, but creating off the dribble is not one of his strengths.  He has the ability to get to the bucket and make a nice finger roll, but he is at danger of losing the ball every time he puts it on the floor.  I would like to see them run him off more screens and make an effort to get him open catch and shoot opportunities.  They do run a successful pick n roll with him, but they need to use him off the ball more.
Aaron Craft also had 6 TO's in this game, and they are going to have a tough time winning when he is not taken care of the ball.  I think Matta should consider giving him a breather even when the game is close.  I think Scott is more than capable of running the team while Craft gets a break.  I also think Loving needs to start seeing 20 minutes a game.  This kid has been very efficient when he is on the floor.  I have shown the numbers before, but he is possibly their best player at getting to the line.  He is also a good stand still shooter.  He is going to make some freshman mistakes, but who cares at this point because the Juniors and seasons are making those same mistakes.
I still think this team can make a deep run in the tournament.  We just need to make adjustments.

jeremytwoface's picture

The zone was giving them trouble all night... 
Craft generally would drive to the basket and try to bounce it out to a shooter, but Craft was making some dumb mistakes and turning the ball over.
 
Also, Iowa was a lot quicker up and down the court. I went to the game and I heard on the radio on the way there that Iowa likes to get out and run after a made basket. Ohio State was slow to get back after those made baskets and paid the price. I can't count the number of layups Iowa had.

The first man gets the ((((Oyster)))), the second man gets the shell.

d5k's picture

The bigs beat Amir down the floor consistently, but guys did not get matched up to help Amir out.

Kindell's picture

The zone did kill them.  It has been a problem too since the Notre Dame game.  They seem to decent when they can get into Ross in the middle of it. 

I_Run_The_Dave's picture

This isn't the first year we've had trouble with the zone.  And we will continue to until we have an actual big man on the roster.
The last couple games, we've done a good job getting the ball to Q or Amir at the free throw line to collapse the zone, but Iowa read the scouting report on that and forced turnovers.  Reminds me a lot of Amir last year, and Ravenel for his entire time at Ohio State.  
Craft driving against the zone repeatedly also makes me want to scream each time he is triple teamed and gets blocked/stripped/throws the ball away.  I love craft driving to the basket in transition and against man-to-man, but this needs to stop.  For as good as Craft is at defense, he sure is bad at breaking down an opponent's.  Or maybe he does it because on offense, nobody ever moves.  We just pass pass pass pass pass pass pass pass and then Craft gets it with 5 seconds on the shot clock.  Or maybe we play so hard on defense that we're too tired to run an offense and shoot the ball accurately?

d5k's picture

As much as I love the Craft/Scott duo together, when you put in Thompson the half court offense struggles with no shooting threats in the backcourt.  I think if those 3 are on the court together you have to play aggressive press defense to try to get transition opportunities like we did vs MSU down the stretch.  

d5k's picture

Ross doesn't have the vision and ability to pass after he collapses the defense.  If he catches at the foul line against the zone or penetrates there should be someone wide open as the defense will collapse on him.  He often will force the ball to the basket.  His backup Loving does the same thing and even Craft has a tendency to overpenetrate and not kick the ball early enough.  When the only thing we are good at is dribble-driving we need to be able to make the timely passes that open up.  But if we just had guys shooting their open 3s at a decent clip we would be a better offense.

CincyBuckeye04's picture

I think the big knocks on Q have followed him throughout his career so far at OSU. He wasn't as highly ranked as he could have been coming out of HS because he had a lack of passion/intensity and some even questioned his love of the game. I think that might be hyperbole personally, but I do see his lack of intensity on the defensive side of the ball alot more clearly than the offensive side. He often doesn't box anyone out and the opposing offense consequently gets multiple offensive rebounds (i.e. Payne for MSU's two monster put backs). You would think that the personality of the two seniors on this team (Craft and Smith Jr.) would possibly influence Q in some way, but it doesn't seem to be the case so far. There is no doubt the guy has a high ceiling and the talent is there, hopefully he can put it all together.

buckeyeEddie27's picture

Sit Ross.  Play Loving.   
I like Ross, He's an Offensive weapon but he's a turnover MACHINE. 
We need as much efficiency on that end of the court as possible.  His points are nice but do not (IMO) outweigh the t/o's.   I don't think the points he puts up are impossible to find elsewhere. 

I know there's a game Saturday, and my ass will be there.

Squirrel Master's picture

I second starting Loving over Ross. Not just because Ross has his struggles but also because I think Loving is more aggressive in finding his shots, if at a fault even. Loving will take bad shots but at least he is more aggressive in trying to get there where as Ross just waits for the offense to come to him.
but my biggest support to starting Loving, he works best with Amir on defense. I'm serious, when they are on the floor together the defense in the post isn't any better. Amir plays lazy when Ross is on the court but when Loving comes in, he seems to get some juice or something. Not to start any rumors or anything but I wouldn't be surprised if Amir and Ross never really get along. Amir needs motivation and a front court teammate who will work with him. Plus Loving has a knack for blocking shots.
I think for the makeup of the whole team, Loving makes more sense at the 4. Maybe Ross can play the 3 and they both can be out there for a pretty decent sized lineup, but Matta should see what happens if Loving starts over Ross.
and he really needs to stop the over rotation of the wings. I think they had a nice setup going on that big run and he switched out the lineup. I like the team to have a rotation but not during a big run.
 

I saw a UFO once.......it told me to have a goodyear!

buckeyeEddie27's picture

You make a good point because it is interesting to think about the personal relationships these guys have and how they influence play.  Whether they notice a difference in their own play or not, it has to be a factor. 

I know there's a game Saturday, and my ass will be there.

Optimistic Buckeye Pessimist's picture

I think we all just need to face the music.  Everyone on this team is flawed.  Everyone on this team is streaky.  It's a fun team, the highs are high and lows are low.  I'm just going to enjoy it because there's nothing I can do to change it.  I just hope the team gets better and more consistent and can make a run to the Sweet 16, anything past that is gravy.  For me, that would be a successful season.

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Alice in Aggieland's picture

Last year's basketball Buckeyes looked a lot like this in January, too: world beaters in OOC play, mortal in early B1G games. I think Matta likes to tinker with his rotations, and it's not until late in the conference schedule that his teams start to gel as a result. 

IBLEEDSCARLETANDGRAY's picture

They're still going to win 25+ games and make it to the Big Dance so I am not panicking. I do think playing Loving more will help and if Ross suddenly decides to go cold for longer stretches of time or does not shore his defensive play up then Coach Matta will have a decision to make. Loving does have "star" written all over him. He might need to grow up a little sooner than expected.

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jbirmmd's picture

Craft had a very unusual game in that he was turning the ball over so much, his scoring has always been a bonus when it comes so that is not so much a surprise as the possessions given up by bad TOs.  The missed FTs at the end were back breaking as well because we could have been within two down with around a minute to go had he made them. 
As much as I love Thompson, he needs to sit the bench more.  Loving and Ross need to see the floor together, IMO, and have Craft and Scott platoon a bit more.  Loving can play some D and having two gaurds (Craft/Scott) who are not scoring threats is not going to cut it down the stretch.  Especially if Amir doesn't find a fire inside somewhere and LEARN HOW TO JUMP AND DUNK! 

Squirrel Master's picture

I believe Amir is "jump and dunk"ing just fine. He pretty much made a shot everytime he got the ball in good position. I think they, Craft and Scott, need to learn to throw it UP to him instead of bounce passes. He is bigger than pretty much everyone on the court, why are they not lobbing it up to him is the real question.
plus out of everyone on this team, I think Amir needs more of a break. He is the only true post on the team (especially with Ross playing "OLE" defense) and he is staying on the court more despite Matta subbing him right after he gets a hot streak going. The kid has grown tremendously from last year (only 6 games of 18 minutes or more last year to pretty much every game) and he catches more passes than he used to. We all use to see him with hands of stone, he can catch the ball now. Plus he has hit 12-18 FTs over the past 5 games. He is more clutch at the line than most on the team. That is huge for a center.
If you are looking for him to play like Julius Randle or Joel Embiid, then you have your expectations too high. He is still developing at the post and he gets no love from the streaky outside shooters that don't pass him the ball, did you see what he does when he gets the ball in position yesterday, and don't open up the lanes for him to work. Amir does need to grow more but out of all the players on this team, he has grown more than everyone else.

I saw a UFO once.......it told me to have a goodyear!

jbirmmd's picture

Not being sarcastic here, but how often do you actually see him jump?  Let alone throw down with force inside instead of just trying to finesse it? 

trock's picture

I just wish Ross would rebound like DT did. DT was one of the most underrated rebounders in college basketball. I don't expect him to be a great defender, but give me some effort on the glass.

216ToThe614's picture

I think the most frustrating player is easily Amir Williams. That guy looks like he needs an energy drink or something come game time, never see much out of him at all at a huge position of need

Pick up your feet, turn your corners square! And DRIVE DRIVE DRIVE!!!
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GoBucks713's picture

Man this team could use DT.

-The Aristocrats!

PittBuckeye's picture

If we're going there I'll take Mike Conley and Michael Redd please.

GoBucks713's picture

I was saying him because he could actually be playing this season.

-The Aristocrats!

trock's picture

Here's to hoping these loses will motivate the team. There was a point last year where the team looked like they were headed in the wrong direction.
I am questioning some things Thad and the team are doing, but have no reason to not trust Thad.

Notthatguy's picture

This is the downside of recruiting one/two and dones. Every three years or so you are going have seasons like this; a team full of bench players. These guys are showing why there were on the bench the last two or three years. I fully hope and expect to see Loving replace Ross, and quickly...

Mention Michigan in this house and I'll smack you so hard you'll wish it was two months later so the pain will go away...

Chris Lauderback's picture

I find it interesting that the media is focusing on Q's five turnovers despite 22 points but is barely mentioning Craft's six turnovers against six points. Plus, Ross scored 10 of his 22 during that 15-3 run that turned a 41-38 deficit into a 53-44 lead.

Q turned it over 3 times late but I think Craft had a lot more to do with defeat yesterday than Ross.

thePhilipJFry's picture

Or that Lenzelle Smith Jr is averaging over 28 minutes per game in big ten play and is 1 out of 15! from the three point line.
If Matta is going to play Craft and Scott together he needs a real scoring/shooting threat at the other guard.  Otherwise he is begging every team in the big ten to pack in a 2/3 zone that only has to extend on Ross. 

d5k's picture

I was about to post about Smith's cold streak.  He shot close to 50% from 3 in non-conference play but has been incredibly cold despite playing pretty well in terms of decisive and appropriately aggressive play.  He just needs some shots to fall although he had yet another ridiculous tomahawk jam that could've been a nice layup go flying off the rim into the sky.

thePhilipJFry's picture

Add in the Notre Dame, Maryland and Marquette games to his Big Ten play and he is 3 of 25 from 3 point range.
His sophomore year he had some big games in the tournament run, as well as a couple of good games against Indiana and Michigan, but he has not had a good game against a good opponent since.  He is now a senior.  He plays 71% of available minutes. 
 

Optimistic Buckeye Pessimist's picture

It was a total team loss.  I think it's unfair to point out one player after the meltdown that occurred yesterday.  Turnovers, defensive lapses, and rebounding, everyone did their part.  The observation with Q has been a long time coming.  In terms of surprise, I'm more surprised that it's being pointed out now, as opposed to last year or even earlier in the season.  He's definitely playing better and smarter, but he had a long ways to go and still has a lot of room for improvement here.

Read my entire screen name....

d5k's picture

I think people were using his March play as the baseline from which he would improve instead of his total season play last year.  He found a nice niche down the stretch in March hitting the elbow threes and finding lanes to the basket while not being terrible on D.  He has gone back to looking a little lost at times and won't block people out.
Btw, a ton of people were complaining about the lack of offense last year and asking for him to play more.  This is the guy you get, a pretty good scorer who can shoot but is inconsistent and turns it over and not a good defender.  Amir is really the only guy that has stepped up and improved over his play last year.  Lenzelle looked better earlier in the year but seems to have declined suddenly in conference play.  Hopefully he can start hitting some shots.

Optimistic Buckeye Pessimist's picture

That's a very good point about March expectations vs. total year for Q.  And BTW, I completely agree about Q being the double edged sword.  In fact, while everyone was wanting him to see the court more last year, I was among the few who was saying exactly what you just said about him being a double edged sword.  The difference this year (and why I'm not saying it this year) is that we absolutely need his scoring ability, whereas last year, we had DT all the way to the bank and needed the other players to play in support on offense and play excellent defense.
I think the team can get better - two things you mention, Amir getting better and LSJ starting to drop shots are absolutely possible.  I'm not sure they can get better enough to win a championship (B1G or NCAA), but they can sure be (and already are) entertaining as hell.  This is the best part about basketball season, the fact that a team doesn't have to be championship ready from day one.  As for me, I'm just going to enjoy the ride.

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Zimmy07's picture

I think Scott is a better shooter than last year by far.

gobucks96's picture

Chris, 
Stats are one thing, but Q looked like he gave up in the 2nd half vs both teams!
It's the effort when the shot doesn't fall that separates the two.. I agree that Craft was off, he can't be the offensive focus for them to win. Esp. vs a zone

FLAMikey's picture

Most of Craft's TO's were the result of him trying to force something to happen as his teammates were standing around in the moribund "zone offense".....

lakejamesbuck's picture

There is more to the game than just points and turnovers...Amir has definitely improved but he lacks the fire that he needs to play with the entire time he is on the floor. He has shown flashes of it and has been dominant at times but the next time down the floor he gets pushed around like a rag doll. Ross is an even worse example of this...so much talent and seems like such little interest.
Mikey is spot on on Craft...at least he was hustling and trying to make something happen.
I have confidence that Matta will make all the pieces work as best he can. The Bucks will be much improved when tourny time gets here!!!

BenedictineBuck's picture

I repeat... Kam Williams and Russell next year will have opposing D's shitting their basketball shorts!! The problem is gonna be Amir Williams, he plays with no heart and is uninterested out there, and unfortunately he's all we have right now. McDonald is limited but at least he plays with some passion.

Because we couldn't go for three!!!