LaQuinton Ross Ponders His NBA Future

By Kyle Rowland on March 20, 2014 at 7:44p
61 Comments

BUFFALO, N.Y. — The deadline for underclassmen to enter the NBA Draft is April 27. LaQuinton Ross will know well before that cutoff date. The junior forward indicated he’s not leaning one way or the other, but there’s definitely a decision to be made.

In his first season as a starter, Ross averaged more than 15 points and six rebounds per game for the 25-win Buckeyes. Before he arrived at Ohio State, there were murmurs he could be a one-and-done player before academic issues sent his freshman year into a tailspin.

After postseason heroics last season, Ross no doubt returned with the intention of having an All-American junior year to send his draft stock surging and propel him to the professional ranks. It didn’t go as planned, but that hasn’t stopped speculation about his future.

“I’ll make a decision the next few weeks, maybe not even that long,” Ross said Thursday after Ohio State’s season-ending loss to Dayton. “I’ll talk to family, talk to my coaches and go from there.”

Ross isn’t projected as a first-round draft pick in any projections and isn’t even a guarantee to go in the second round. Ohio State’s had at least one player forego his eligibility the past two seasons – Jared Sullinger and Deshaun Thomas – and seven of the last eight. When you recruit top-tier talent, which has become a Thad Matta staple, it’s inevitable that rosters will contain turnover.

“The thing you have to do is do the research,” Matta said. “I always want what’s best for our guys. If it’s right then, I will be the first to tell him to go. But I think he’s got to sit down and look at it. He’s capable of coming back here and having a great senior year if he were to choose to do that.”

Sullinger and Thomas returned after heartbreaking losses in the NCAA Tournament, with that result playing a role in their decision. Ross indicated Dayton’s dramatics won’t be part of his thinking in the weeks to come.

What could weight on him, though, are a woeful shooting performance, five turnovers and two paltry rebounds with the spotlight shining bright. Ross finished 5-of-12 shooting from the field and missed all three three-point attempts. His 10 points were the lowest output in nearly a month.

It was a stark contrast to the superstar who emerged in the lead up to the tournament. Ross scored 19 points in six consecutive games and was named to the Big Ten’s all-tournament team after averaging more than 20 points and 10 rebounds in three games. 

“We needed to finish better. I think that was one of the big keys,” Matta said. “We were getting the ball in there, and we weren’t finishing. There was a lot of contact. We kept telling our guys, ‘You’ve got to finish through contact.’  We didn’t do a good enough job of that.”

The physical nature of the Big Ten should be adequate preparation for the rugged NBA. And Ross grew comfortable plowing into the lane as the season progressed. But being out-physicaled and neutralized by opponents happened more often than front-office personnel would like.

Ross’s opinion would differ from a majority of his detractors. Asked if he believed he was an NBA caliber player, he didn’t hesitate with an answer.   

“I think so,” Ross said. “I’ve always had confidence I’d be there one day, whether it’s after this season or next season.”

Family, coaches and draft advisors are the people Ross will seek out to discuss his future. The difference between past and present is the roster makeup. The Buckeyes are in a state a flux with Aaron Craft’s departure. The No. 6 recruiting comes to campus over the summer, but Ross said the Sullingers and Thomases knew complementary pieces would surround them.

Ross doesn’t believe he has the same luxury.

“Jared knew what he was coming back to with a great system,” Ross said. “The year that Will [Buford] came back they brought in our class, so they knew they were going to have players around them.”

The countdown clock has begun. 

61 Comments

Comments

Crumb's picture

Is he ready yet? Short answer; no. Will he be one day? Yes.

"The only good thing about it is winning the d*** thing" - Urban Meyer on The Game The War

+4 HS
OH10G419's picture

If deshaun didn't make it, neither will Q. Might as well stay n get a degree that lasts for life... once ya stop playing, school gets a lil harder ( just like highschool, athletes get the help they need)

Craft won't make it either.. we saw how a 1 tool guy got treated in Diebler...

+6 HS
Crumb's picture

That's a good point cause I think Deshaun Thomas was a lot better than Q and that's not saying Q is bad, and I though Thomas would make it too. They're similar guys too. I think Ross could learn from his old teammate.

"The only good thing about it is winning the d*** thing" - Urban Meyer on The Game The War

+3 HS
ghalephoto's picture

DeShaun Thomas will be in the NBA soon enough...

Nutbuck1959's picture

The good thing is that Craft will probably get into med school or something. He didn't waste the opportunity given him to be a STUDENT athlete. Not saying Ross did, but Craft is set.

southbuc's picture

How are we not talking about Crafty walking down the hallway and trying out for safety?  Can you imagine if we had hung on to Thomas this year.  Amazing how much of a difference maker he was...

Squirrel Master's picture

but I think Crafts 1 tool is ten times better than Diebler's 1 tool. I think Craft could be a solid backup point guard when you need some defense and energy.

plus I think Craft has more than one tool, he is a pretty solid distributor, he leads, he does get points when he has the opportunity to drive the lane like a bowling ball.

I think some team should take a flyer on him late in the second round. Compared to some of the backup PG in the NBA right now, Craft isn't much worse if not better than some.

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

Buckeye419er's picture

Yeaaa.... how bout nooooo. I'm just picturing him in the same game as some of today's top NBA stars. They would make him look silly. I love me some Buckeye BB but I'm also a realist. He is slow, not aggressive enough, hasn't fully developed his jumper from the range at which his position calls for. 

+2 HS
OH10G419's picture

IMO: His draft stock can only go up.if he stays

+2 HS
UrbanPirate's picture

(Which is what they said last year)

Just... Go Bucks.

    

+1 HS
Silver Bullet 10's picture

I think Ross could be a mid to late first rounder if he stays another year. I think the Cavs will take Craft in the FA.

+1 HS
MikeEagleBuckeye's picture

I would have to agree with Q on the note that he's not sure what level his teammates will be on.  Technically, since Kam Williams redshirted this year, we've brought in two players in the last two years:  ADV and Loving.  Bringing in one good class every three years isn't gonna meet expectations.

-3 HS
Squirrel Master's picture

well next year will be a stellar class and 2015 already has AJ Harris with prospects in Luke Kennard and Bragg. Had Mickey Mitchell but I think that ship has sailed. Strong possibility with Gideons and his teammate both coming, at least news of it.

I agree it has been rough the last couple of years but there was a big issue because the previous two years he brought in 6 recruits and then 5 recruits. So he did have big back to back recruiting classes that affected the two most recent years.

and you can't really blame Kam Williams on Matta. Kid got Mono. Thats like saying Urban only recruited 5 players last year because 20 of them redshirted.

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

d5k's picture

The big back to back classes became a problem with Sibert/Weatherspoon transferring and then Deshaun leaves early after that.  Now we are poised to have back to back big classes again so I hope that doesn't end up the same way with players transferring.  Some of that was just on Sibert not playing well enough to get quality minutes in his sophomore year.  But when you bring in 4-5 guards in 2 years not all of them can play, especially when you already have a senior SG.  Next year we will have 6 rotation guys returning that all will require minutes plus the new recruiting class and Kam Williams.  Dave Bell is a strong RS candidate but the other 3 will have to rotate in.  Hopefully Thad finds a way to play Ross and Loving together without it being a small lineup if Ross returns.

ab1993's picture

Why do you say that ship has sailed? Mitchell recently reaffirmed his commitment

Class of '16

Squirrel Master's picture

well then that just strengthens my point. but I still would keep an eye on the fathers health. If things change for the worst, Mickey could change his mind.

just was trying to point out that with or without Mickey, the next two classes will have talent and depth.

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

Bailey458's picture

I think its pretty simple.  Since it's his decision (and I respect and appreciate him either way) I think it comes down to a little money (comparatively, it'd be a lot to me) right now or maybe a lot of money later.  He could prove so much next year if he came back and had a better more balanced team around him to help him focus on his strengths, practice to become a better defender and learn to protect the ball when he is driving or posting up.

+1 HS
Buckeye in the ATL's picture

Totally agree with your protecting the ball better comment.  Too many times getting slapped out or simply slipping from his grip.  If he works on these weaknesses and improves over the summer he'll add tremendous value to the team and his NBA stock next year.

Buckeye in the ATL

ibuck's picture

While I'm no Jerry West, IMHO if Q goes this year it will be Europe or D-League. Wouldn't be surprised to see no one draft him, or never play a minute in the NBA.

But if he stays, and improves his all-around game, including defense, pull-up 8-15 foot jumpers, and taking better care of the orange, he should be drafted next year.

Our honor defend, we will fight to the end !

If you can't win your conference, just quietly accept your non-playoff bowl game.

+2 HS
SavannahBuck's picture

Wait...Improve pull up 8-15 footers? He made a living in that range in the last half of the year. Watch some film when teams when to a 2-3 zone. When this team was successful against that defense, Q came to the free throw line, and the offense worked through him, and he hit those jumpers on the reg. If anything he needs to work on his jab step, his ball handling, and one other thing. I watched his "dagger 3" against Arizona last year. Go back and look at it. Look how high he jumps on that three compared to the threes he took against Dayton, and the last half of this year...NO LEGS! I dont know if it was stamina, or just a lapse in technique, but his 3 point shooting percentage needs to go up for him to get drafted

daveyt11's picture

Interesting point Savannah...perhaps the Chris Jent leaving may have impacted his coaching there.

Buckeye Chuck's picture

I don't think Ross is a NBA-caliber player but I also don't think another year in school will help his draft stock. I can think of exactly one person in the Matta era who considered leaving, didn't, and probably benefited from that decision in the following draft, and that's Turner. Sullinger and Thomas weren't helped, and Buford wasn't drafted at all. Even B.J. Mullens and Kosta Koufos were probably drafted later than they would have been had they gone to the NBA after high school, as both wanted to do.

Ross's best chance at a lengthy professional career at any level is to seriously improve his outside shooting. 

The most "loud mouth, disrespect" poster on 11W.

+4 HS
d5k's picture

There are very rare circumstances where being 1 year older helps you in the NBA draft.  You don't really develop tangible NBA skills in college at a pace commensurate with expectations usually.  Guys like Thomas Robinson that rode the bench and then dominated when given the opportunity are the exception.  Usually if you played 30+ minutes and you have been on scouts' radar, you aren't going to improve your stock much by returning.  

sivaDavis's picture

Yes they are losing Craft and Lenzelle but are gaining a lot with a lot coming back and a lot coming in. I think he shouldn't make the DeShaun mistake and leave when he could really stay and make next year's team really damn good. Michigan State is losing a lot and could lose even more if some underclassmen decide to declare. Michigan could lose a lot if Stauskas and Robinson decide to leave which I would think would affect McGary's decision to stay. If he comes back, they could be really good and could make noise in the B1G and National Stage IMO.

"I've had smarter people around me all my life, but I haven't run into one yet that can outwork me. And if they can't outwork you, then smarts aren't going to do them much good." - Woody Hayes

+1 HS
Oneida54's picture

He was 0-8 from 3 his last two games ..he needs to increase his range accuracy on ball defense strength. Other than that hes perect.NOT!!

 

-2 HS
740's picture

I don't much like Ross calling out the talent level on the team. even if you feel that way, some things stay in house.

 

secondly, this incoming recruiting class looks to be the best we've had since Dillinger/Thomas/craft

+5 HS
740's picture

Jared sullinger. John Dillinger. Siri gives no fucks.

+9 HS
bukyze's picture

I think it's pretty much a no-brainer.  He is nowhere close to being ready for the NBA.  He still needs to show a lot of improvement just to even get drafted after next year.  He either makes that jump, or ends up in Europe.

+1 HS
KBonay's picture

0-fer 2 (games) from 3-point land & lack of a dribble/drive can't help his stock any.

 

D. Anthony's picture

at the end of last year, Q looked like his ceiling could be a Robert Horry/ high level role player, who can hit the clutch deep shots. This year his over all game kept improving but his outside shot started falling a lot less...his draft stock is way down from the end of last year...needs to come back and show a consistent inside/outside game.

D. Anthony

+1 HS
seafus26's picture

I lived in Houston when Horry was drafted and on those championship teams. The dude had springs in his legs, could jump out of the gym, defend the other teams 2, 3 or 4. His shot outside shot developed later in career. Matta won't develop any more explosive athleticism or offensive set out of him. But he may learn some from Matta's defensive tutelage 

Go Bucks and michigan STILL SUCKS!

+1 HS
jamesrbrown322's picture

A lot of people forget that Horry was such a phenomenal athlete and defender early on in his career. Heck, the guy was in slam dunk contests! Q is a much better athlete than 99% of the population, but he's pretty pedestrian compared to 95% of the guys in the NBA.

"I can accept failure, but I cannot accept not trying." - W.W. Hayes

+1 HS
topgun67's picture

Of all professional sports, NBA is the hardest.  Afterall only 5 from each team start and several more on the bench. 

Ross is no way NBA ready.  Has potential, maybe.  He has yet to really come together consistently.  I am sure he wants to turn PRO, but he won't be 1st or 2nd round with the resume he has so far.  He would have been better off turning pro last year.  This year, his stock is prob down. 

Do we want/need him next year?  I guess so, although I am just not a big fan of his style of play.  He's not consistent, he has a temper, etc.  But who do we have other than incoming freshmen who can really score?  Not Shannon... Not Thompson (take away dunks, he is inconsistent at best), DV is OK but still too unreliable.

I won't be crying if he leaves.  if he stays, he stays.  I am looking forward to new blood.  new leadership.  I don't see any upper classman who has that potential.  Maybe Russell can be the leader despite being a freshman.   

 

seafus26's picture

Go where? 

Go Bucks and michigan STILL SUCKS!

Eastside Buckeye's picture

I'm going to be honest I flat out laughed when I saw he's "undecided" on his future for next season... Seriously? DT is playing overseas how can he possibly think his fortune will turn out better going forward after this season? No way he's ready yet, didn't even think this would even be considered.

"Life is a course and imma shoot for par." - Dewayne Carter

+3 HS
RCRoy45's picture

I wonder how the ed o banning lawsuit will affect things with players going pro early.  One thinks that if they get a significant yearly trust fund contribution they r more likely to stay rather than take a bball career in France or Turkey... This could b a nice side effect of this case.

“And in the night of death, hope sees a star and listening love hears the rustle of a wing.”

CRAFTFORTHESTEAL's picture

Please Go! I'm sure some Turkish team is hiring! It's laughable if he thinks he has a shot at the NBA.

Pay It Forward!

-5 HS
johnblairgobucks's picture

If Ross comes back for another year and gets physically stronger, I can see him develop into a Robert Horry type NBA player.  With his strength and foot speed as they are now, I don't see him making an NBA roster.

Also, it would help him to get ultra competitive and really focus on being a better defender.  the majority of NBA players he would face, would scorch him consistently if he takes what he has now to the NBA..... Hence not many NBA teams will have interest in him, imo.

Wish him well, making HIS decision.

+1 HS
Bailey458's picture

Q should be praying every night he has Robert Horry's career.  Can you imagine Q being called Big Shot Ross and having a handful of championship rings?  He's got a ways to go.

But the NBA is very developmental, Q has the talent and teams draft on talent and ceilings all the time (see Bennett, Anthony Brown, Kwame Vesely, Jan I could name twenty more but I'm tired)

Jason Priestas's picture

What I think most don't realize is that there's a lot of upside to leaving early, even when it may seem like a bad choice. Kosta Koufas has made more than $12 million playing in the NBA. Byron Mullens $7 million. Hell, Greg Oden has already banked about $25 million. Even Daequan Cook, before he went overseas, took home almost $13.5 million from his NBA days..

Take Deshaun Thoams. He didn't make the Spurs and is now playing in France for $150k a year. Granted, he'd rather be in the NBA, but that's not a bad life he has going.

Run_Fido_Run's picture

D. Cook was taken 21st overall in the 1st round and the other players you mentioned were all 7-footers.

Q would be lucky to get drafted late in the second round.

Jason Priestas's picture

I don't think Q is anywhere near a first-rounder, but my point is that there's money everywhere in professional ball. If it comes down to playing in Europe for six-figures or another year of NCAA stipends, that's a tough decision for some guys, especially when you can always work your way back into the NBA from Europe.

Run_Fido_Run's picture

Jason, good point, but I've wondered if you sort of "run the numbers," do a cost/benefit analysis, on a medium-level talent playing 3-6 years in Europe and then not making it to the NBA, subtracting all the expenses from the income . . . how well that route really pays off. Keep in mind that during this phase of these young men's lives they'd otherwise be going to grad school or gaining entry-level experience in their post-basketball careers. 

In Q's case, he would be forgoing the senior year of his "full ride" scholarship at one of the premier public universities in the nation. 

Strictly in a financial sense, it was a slam dunk for D Cook to declare when he did; it's a much dicier proposition, financially, for Q to head off to Europe this summer. 

d5k's picture

And DT is still in the Spurs organization.  They just didn't have a roster spot for him.  In a year or two when Ginobili and Duncan finally are sent to the glue factory he will likely get a real shot to be their bench lightning rod scorer.  And he is likely developing more in Europe than he would in college since he can focus 100% on basketball and get more individualized coaching.

Jason Priestas's picture

And make six-figures. As could LaQuinton. I'm not saying that's the right choice for him, but it's a choice he'll have to consider.

LouGroza's picture

Not trying to bash the kid in any way but it would be hard to imagine anyone watching his game against Dayton and saying he is ready for the NBA. 

+1 HS
Buckifan4Life's picture

If he goes, great. Good luck to him, but please take Amir with you.

+1 HS
jamesrbrown322's picture

IMHO, there is no way he is ready. He is not 1/2 the player that Deshaun was, and he couldn't make to the NBA as a rookie, and there are no indications that he ever will. If Q wants to play in Europe, then go ahead and go early. Let's be honest here. Q is a sharpshooter, without the sharpness.

Also, if he wants to talk THAT badly about a highly ranked recruiting class, and how good his teammates AREN'T, then go ahead and go. Maybe it can be addition by subtraction. After all, Loving will almost certainly be a better player than Q, and there's every bit of chance that Slam continues to improve.

So, more power to you Q. It's your decision. To me, it sounds like he's gone, especially after a sound bite in which he said that OSU won't have much talent next year. Keep this in mind, Q...you just failed to get out of the first round with almost the exact same team that Tank carried to the Elite 8. So don't you dare try to compare yourself to him.

"I can accept failure, but I cannot accept not trying." - W.W. Hayes

+2 HS
d5k's picture

It is not about the player he is now.  It is about the skills that can translate to the NBA in the future.  He is longer than Deshaun and more of a pure shooter from 3.  He obviously doesn't post, rebound, and score in weird ways as well as Deshaun but he has a couple NBA quality attributes in his elite length and shooting combo.  He will get a look just because of his body and shooting.

mb5599's picture

No way is Q ready for the NBA.

Big B

okiebuck's picture

He certainly should not listen to the slimeball agents telling him to jump; he is nowhere near ready for the next level.

"Fate has cards that it don't want to show"

Barnsey69's picture

He needed to demonstrate that he could take over a game, especially on a team like the one he played on this year. He did not do that. He needs more confidence in his shot before he can play in the NBA, but if he wants to get paid to develop just to avoid the classroom, then the Thomas plan might work for him too.

Personally, I hope he returns and becomes our next All-American, but I sniff a lot of glue, so that may not be a reasonable expectation.

Thank the Maker that I was born in Ohio, cradle of coaches, US Presidents, confederate-stomping Generals, and home of The Ohio State University Football Buckeyes!

The Rill Dill's picture

He should have pondered helping Aaron Craft on defense, on Dayton's winning shot.  He ABSOLUTELY stood and watched the guy blow by.  ONE step, and a raised hand---that shot does not go in.

+1 HS
rider1's picture

I am uncharacteristically ambivalent about Q. Go, stay, i don't care. I never "got" the guy. Sometimes spectacular, he often disappeared in games. Never sold out on D...I don't know how to feel about him. Loved D Thomas...

+1 HS
NCBuckeye2011's picture

Q putting down the talent level of this roster, and the incoming class leaves a little bit of a bitter taste about him. Does he not realize the class that he came in with is very similar to the class Ohio State is signing this year?

C- Amir Williams 4* ----> C Probably won't get Turner, but they will find someone solid 

PF- Trey Mcdonald 3*----> PF Dave Bell 3/4* 

SF Slam Thompson 4*, ----> SF Ja'Sean Tate 4*

SF LaQuinton Ross 4* ----> SF Keita Bates Diop 4*

PG Shannon Scott 4* -----> SG Deangelo Russel 5* -->

Next years lineup if Q stays

PG- Scott

SG- Russel (maybe)

SF- Slammy

PF/Stretch 4- Q

C- Amir

Bench- Kam Williams, Della Valle, Marc Loving, Trey Mcdonald + Keita-Bates, Tate, Bell

That lineup isn't spectacular but they would still probably win 20+ games

d5k's picture

And if Q played like a B1G POY then it could be a conference contender and top 10-15 team.  I have been waiting for Scott and Thompson to play consistently and I think being seniors and without Craft dominating the team/ball, they will be forced to step up and take ownership of the team.

Toilrt Paper's picture

Loving will be a starter next year. I'm hoping Cam Williams plays more  minutes at PG than Scott as the season progresses.

steveinkc's picture

dear mr. ross.....you must be kidding? you are a dime a dozen in the NCAA.

steveinkc

+1 HS
Bamabucknut's picture

A magical one time in your life experience that helps prepare you for  a basketball or non basketball career. Why would you ever say I don't want this ?

Toilrt Paper's picture

Ross has to get off his skinning ass and get in the weight room. If not he will be chewed up and spit out in the NBA. 

skid21's picture

Where is he going? To Europe? Not the NBA. I'd bet my house on this one. Personally I don't really care if he stays or goes. He can score but he isn't a player who can take us to the next level. He couldn't take us to the second round this year. He wouldn't make a difference next year unless making it to the tourney and losing in first round makes all that much of difference to you.