Did LaQuinton Ross Make the Best Decision?

By Kyle Rowland on June 26, 2014 at 8:30a

Decisions are judged in a nanosecond. Parents, kids, the president, Urban Meyer – everything they do is evaluated almost immediately. Three months after LaQuinton Ross left Ohio State following his junior season, his decision is still being discussed.

Right or wrong? A fair answer can’t be fully determined for multiple years. But Ross’s draft stock has plummeted from the beginning of the season to now. He was considered a first-round pick in November and has fallen all the way to late second round or undrafted status.

“I think it was the right time for me,” Ross said. “I had a pretty good year. I believe in going while you’re hot.”

Months of workouts for NBA front office personnel didn’t yield pleasing results for Ross – or general managers. Offensively, Ross is solid, but not great. His size and style are a dime a dozen in the NBA. There’s nothing in his game that sticks out and screams, “We have to have this guy.”

Ross has worked out for the Cavs, 76ers, Bulls, Jazz, Clippers, Suns, Wizards, Raptors, Timberwolves, Pistons, Grizzlies and Mavericks.

From the perimeter, Ross – 6-foot-7, 239 pounds – never shot better than 39 percent in a season. He averaged 36.4 percent from three-point range during his three-year career, a number that doesn’t translate to being a threat to opponents. There isn’t better consistency when trying to score off the dribble or posting up.

What Ross does possess is quickness and a freakishly long 7-foot-2 wingspan that could benefit him in a move from the 4 to the 3. At times, he’s able to use his speed and lanky frame to crash through the lane and get to the free throw line. When Ross careens into the lane, he can do so with power and grace.

“My size, being able to shoot and score the ball, I think I can help an NBA team in that department,” Ross said.

While he scored 15 points per game last season, Ross never took control in tense moments. Late in games, it was more common to see Aaron Craft or Lenzelle Smith Jr. take crucial shots instead of Ross. Embracing the go-to-guy role and letting shots fly is needed in the NBA – not looking lost.

Where Ross’s flaws blink repeatedly is on the defensive end. The term “liability” is probably used too often in basketball. But Ross fits the definition, with long stretches of poor effort and poor fundamentals. What’s more, he won’t match up well with bigger, athletic guards and forwards in the NBA.

Even as the NBA’s become a defensive-heavy league, there are still murmurs in the public about a lack of focus on defense. The comments are off base. It’s evident how much value is placed on defense when two of the top defenders in professional basketball are LeBron James and Kobe Bryant.

Ross didn’t do himself any favors by showing up to the combine with added weight – 14 pounds more than his final game at Ohio State. Several front office people believe it showed a lack of work ethic and poor attitude. If you’re the total package, you can get away with that – Ross can’t. He just seems to be missing that killer instinct that difference making players own.

The scenario is eerily similar to Deshaun Thomas prior to last year’s draft, though Thomas had more college success. Still, the two players’ skills are similar, with offense in vogue and defense out of style. Thomas was drafted by the Spurs late in the second round before being shipped off to France, where he averaged 12 points and four rebounds in helping guide his team to the French Cup championship.

And he did it all while being paid a hefty sum. It’s possible Ross is destined for the same career path.

Said Ross: “You only have to get one team to like you.”


Comments Show All Comments

Buckin_Tua's picture

You lost me at Kobe Bryant being a top defensive player. He hasn't been considered that in at least 5 years ha. Ross probably did make a mistake, but then again how high could his stock have risen? He'd still have all those same deficiencies.

+2 HS
blocko330's picture

He could have made a true effort to become a better defender in the offseason and then prove that during the college season which may have appealed more to NBA scouts... Instead, he's gained weight since his last game and became the fattest boy in camp.


“Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.”

- TruthTeller

+4 HS
Buckin_Tua's picture

Right, he COULD have and he most definitely should have. But hell, if he didn't for his shot at the NBA he most definitely wouldn't have tried getting better for another season where he was comfortable. Disappointing. But I get it, I can't stay away from donuts and pizza either.

+4 HS
UFest57's picture

"Lunch has been canceled due to lack of hustle"

+2 HS
blocko330's picture

Deal with it.

“Things may come to those who wait, but only the things left by those who hustle.”

- TruthTeller

+1 HS
Curt Heinrichs's picture

Somebody needs to get on the Perkis System. 

*Disclaimer* The Perkis System does not improve quality of shot selection, defensive ability, rebounding, or overall effort. 

+1 HS
808buckeye's picture

That's hilarious

seize the carpe

11UrbzAndSpices's picture

I feel like Ross is just bound to play overseas. Entering the NBA draft is a formality, under the premise of WHAT IF someone takes a chance on you. I agree that like he has a similar skill set to Deshaun Thomas, but less of the intangibles. No heart, no 'killer' instinct like Kobe or MJ always had. Reminds you of William Buford, with the great ability but no "it" factor. And when was DT drafted? 58...a throw away pick on a player that may or may not develop...or  whatever. If LaQUIN'N gets drafted, it'll be a similar throw away pick. Team will either let him develop or use him for his body during camps.

"Quit skipping leg day bro" - Dr James Andrews

scottyp_330's picture

Buford and Thomas were both much more talented IMO and both fell short. I don't see Ross getting drafted tonight. All the best to the Buckeyes, but whatever happens I wish him luck in his future.

YTOWNBUCKI's picture

Even watching him in a Buckeye uniform I though he looked disinterested at times and was even lazy getting up and down the floor.

I hope everything works out for the young man but it looks like playing overseas might be his landing spot as of now.

CJDPHoS Board of Directors

Go get your shine box, Gumar!

+6 HS
acBuckeye's picture

Even watching him in a Buckeye uniform I though he looked disinterested at times and was even lazy getting up and down the floor.

I agree, but I have to ask: You sure you didn't mean Amir?

BTW, nice pic.

+1 HS
YTOWNBUCKI's picture

Perhaps I meant both.  Very difficult watching them at times this season. 

Nice pic to you as well sir.  An homage to Mike Doss.

CJDPHoS Board of Directors

Go get your shine box, Gumar!

+2 HS
Squirrel Master's picture

I wish Ross all the best but I think he made a mistake for himself, but not for the program. I'm sorry to say it but the program will be better off without him. He was highly inconsistent as the lead scorer and his defense was poor. I think he can grow and still develop those traits, and he has the talent to do so, but I didn't think it would happen this year at OSU and I was concerned that he might stunt the growth of KBD and even Russell. Now there is no dominant name or player on the team. It will be a team effort and someone will have the opportunity to step up. It most likely will be Russel but it could be KBD, it could be Loving, it might be Slam or Tate. I seriously think Kam will be awesome to have in depth, a true scorer for the bench.

Good luck tonight Ross. I hope your dreams come true and you don't take it for granted.

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

+3 HS
wyatt's picture

Ross made the right decision for him. Let's just say he is not the student type.  Much like Daequan Cook a few years ago.

+2 HS
chirobuck's picture

Maybe bball isn't going to be how he makes a living.....I think the biggest mistake is not getting a degree and having something to fall back on, I had started a thread on scout about this before the season last year about how not only was it stupid to consider coming out after his sophomore year but that he should stay 4 years cause his game was light years away from being NBA ready


^ best post ever ^

+1 HS
Kyle Rowland's picture

You can always go back to school and get your degree. That part is a non-issue. 

elitesmithie's picture

You can't always go to school for free to play a kids game. Do you really think the chances are strong someone in their mid-late 20's finishes up their degree when they have to pay for it when it was previously free?

+3 HS
chirobuck's picture

Bingo......that part is very much an issue, it sounds good in theory "he can always go back" but so many times it just doesn't happen.....take advantage of it while its right in front of you


^ best post ever ^

+1 HS
bethmowins's picture

I think he made the right decision. Much like Deshaun Thomas, I think their ceiling was reached and they knew it. Coming back another year wasn't going to improve their stock. They both have children and this is a quicker way to start making money.

countrybuckeye's picture

They both have children and this is a quicker way to start making money.

Hmmm ....... focus and priorities.  And a talent level not "in keeping with" the choices made.  

Let's hope LQR does get through this portion of his career -- there is serious coin in Europe ball ....

Any bets on A "Rosy Cheeks" C?  There has got to be a GM who wants an AC in his locker room. Jus' gotta' B ;)

"Momma told me there would be days like this."


I think we can all agree Thomas was far and away better than Q and Thomas wasn't able to crack the NBA. What does that say for Q? But I also agree that his stock probably isn't going to get any better unless he suddenly started shooting better and playing better D. Maybe he could've done that his senior year. Maybe not.

"Sherman ran an option play right through the south" - Greatest Civil War analogy EVER.

+2 HS
ShowThemOhiosHere's picture

Poor man's DeShaun Thomas.  I don't think the decision was ever a slam dunk, but that's just me.  I understand wanting to make money for your kids.  But what's the harm of coming back for one more season?  He could possibly develop his game more to where he might get a better look from scouts (at the very least, try harder - hustle more, look more interested, try to play better defense, lose some of the body fat, which I'm sure he gained a fairly significant portion of when gaining that 14 pounds).  And get his degree...so, you know, if basketball doesn't work out, he can find work in his field of study.  He's got the potential - take another year, get closer to that potential, and show people that you want to reach that potential.  Though it is tougher to come back to college when you have a kid and money is staring you right in the face.  So, I kind of understand...I'm just speaking from more of a big picture/long-term money making point of view.

Class of 2010.

+1 HS
buckeyepastor's picture

"you only have to get one team to like you."  That's true if you're looking as far as an initial contract.  To get drafted or signed, all it takes is one team that believes. If you're looking for a CAREER, it takes much, much more than that.   It takes production and development and patience.   I wish him well, but I don't think he's NBA material.   Still, there are at least other options, other places where he can play basketball and make a living, at least for a handful of years.   

"Woody would have wanted it that way" 

sb97's picture

LQR will probably end up signing a 6 figure contract with a euro league team and things will work out just fine for him if he puts forth the effort.  He can continue to develop his game there and maybe earn a shot at the NBA down the line.

+2 HS
Prickly_Pete's picture

I would have liked to see him stick around another year, but I can understand that he wants to make some money.   I think he can improve his game in Europe as well as he can in college.  If he improves, the NBA will want him.  If not, he can make a good living in Europe.  Either way, he’s going to get paid a lot of money to play a fun game, so he’s in a good situation.

+1 HS
ibuck's picture

 Ross...just seems to be missing that killer instinct that difference making players own.

To be fair, during last season a lot of opponents' defensive efforts focused on not letting Q beat them. It wasn't like the previous season, when foes focused more on DT. 

with long stretches of poor effort and poor fundamentals. 

Matta & staff worked hard to get Q to accept coaching, improve attitude, etc.  And Q was tight with Amir, so I suspect Ross' influence was the reason Amir exhibited similar traits. The 2014 NBA draft just might provide both Ross & Amir with attitude adjustments. And that could benefit both players, and the 2014-15 Buckeyes.

Our honor defend, so we'll fight to the end !

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

Buck Wild's picture

I wish LQR good luck, but his game just does not translate to the pros. Too slow & stiff legged as a streaky shooter. His defense is frankly terrible & the pros will expose him. He is a poor rebounder w/ terrible fundamentals in boxing out. Last, I hope the young man can carry himself w/ confidence. If he didn't hit that 1st shot, he was quick to hang his head...

"I can accept failure, but I can't accept not trying."
Woody Hayes 1913 - 1987

+1 HS
brband64's picture

I don't know Ross, never met him - but I can't help but wonder whether we would be saying different things about his OSU career and possible placement in the draft had things worked out with his transfer here back in '11.  I remember all the glowing reports about how Q was lighting up the gym during the summer, then he had to sit out the entire fall.  And when he did finally become eligible, he didn't see the court...and there was the frustration that went with that as he couldn't play catch-up to everything Matta wanted from him.  Ross seemed to put all of that behind him by the end of the following season, but this past year the flashes of brilliance were mixed with - as others have described - long periods of seeming disinterest where he basically had little impact on either side of the floor.  I hope the change of scenery, I would think more likely in Europe, will put him back on track - guy may or may not be NBA starter material, but he has enough potential that he could set himself up for life by playing hoops somewhere over the next several years.

This is why I was so relieved, from a fan's standpoint, that things worked out eligibility-wise for D'Angelo Russell - there may be zero similarity between the two people, but I would hate to think that stagnating away from the court for a semester (and possibly not being able to catch up this winter) could put Russell in a similar frustration mode...not to mention the team lacking his immense talent.  Good luck to both.

"Maybe the Big Ten is not that bad. Maybe it's pretty damn good.'' ~ Urban Meyer

+1 HS
36buck's picture

He was inconsistent and an enigma for 3 yrs.  was never close to a first round guy.  Did any one actually watch him play?  D Thomas was a much better player and barely got drafted.  

+2 HS
73buckeye's picture

Agree completely. I didn't see anything all year that told me he was ready for the pros. If you don't show great effort, can't dominate the college game, be the go to guy f and come through for your team in tight situations, I don't understand how anyone could have advised him that he was ready. After three years, maybe he wasn't going to get any better, but If last year was his ceiling, he better learn some German or Italian or Turkish. 


BuckminsterFullback's picture

This article on cleveland.com has an interesting perspective on the merits of being an undrafted free agent, as compared to being a late second rounder.

+1 HS
Nutty's picture

I don't whether he waited too long or left too early. Hard to tell how his senior season would have gone but I don't think he would have been able to be a first rounder either way. I think it was his lack of effort after the season that hurt him the most. Would he have been more dedicated last season, next season? Would he have been an All American his senior season? Who knows. What we do know is he has shown a lack of effort beginning with high school grades. I'm rooting for him as he is a Buckeye but I don't think anyone can say one way or the other if his decision to leave this year is too late or too early. Good luck Q.

Eph97's picture

If these guys are going to "major" in basketball or football you'd think they'd put the effort into it as if their life depended on it just like a pre-med or pre-law major does in his or her studies.

To half ass it with a golden scholarship to play ball for OSU makes no sense.

+1 HS
Bamabucknut's picture

I have to say...seeing some of these college football and basketball players throw away a college degree(in this very touch economy)....all tuition and expenses paid...and competing on one of the best football/basketball teams in the country just for a CHANCE to make pro money is upsetting. College is such a special,and very limited, time in your life.You are in such a very special position as a student athlete at a top school. Then you look at the fate of so many who left early....and didn't make it to the pro's. Why why why would you leave ?

Ross is trying to sell himself from a position of weakness not strength. This can be an unfortunate thing to watch....and it didn't need to be this way.

HotSauceCommittee's picture

Will add my two cents. Decent shooter, poor defender, lacks explosiveness and NBA athleticism. To me, Q was a four year college talent, a water-down D Thomas. He should have stayed. Nothing wrong with making a living in Europe getting paid and living a good life there. Thx for some good moments and I hope you get your name called, but I would be quite surprised.

ScarletNGrey01's picture

Hind sight is 20/20, I definitely wanted him to stay for selfish reasons, turns out it probably would have benefited him also.  William Buford is another player whose fortunes turned out similarly.  Wonder how Aaron Craft is faring, did I miss an 11W article about his situation?

The will to win is not as important as the will to prepare to win. -- Woody Hayes

TraptnMI's picture

Am i the only crazy fucker here that believes Q is extremely talented and a hell of a ball handler. He is a more than capable slasher and able to finish at the rim. Q was a much better player than anyone else at OHIO STATE. His ceiling is much higher than everyone is giving him credit for or lack there of. Q is not consistently a game changer. He for sure has had explosive games.Q  disappears at times, but you cannot teach Q's natural talent and sweet stroke. He just dosen't want it bad enough! I'm bummed for Q and most all of these comments.

" It's real good whatcha done Anthony, real good ! "

mtrotb's picture

Yes you are the only one.  You can be his agent.


steveinkc's picture

Q IS not motivated and hasn't been since he came to OSU. looks very uncoachable and was not ready to go to NBA and then made sure they knew it by being overweight and out of shape. He's a dime a dozen and might play some in Europe???


CPDenn's picture

It’s evident how much value is placed on defense when two of the top defenders in professional basketball are LeBron James and Kobe Bryant.


Was this written in 2007?