E.J. Liddell Selected by New Orleans Pelicans With No. 41 Pick in 2022 NBA Draft

By Griffin Strom on June 23, 2022 at 11:40 pm
E.J. Liddell

Widely projected as a first-round NBA draft pick, E.J. Liddell slipped to the second round of the draft on Thursday.

The Buckeye forward was selected with the 41st overall pick in the 2022 NBA draft by the New Orleans Pelicans, joining Malaki Branham as two Ohio State players were drafted in the same year for the first time since 2007.

A first-team All-Big Ten selection and third-team AP All-American in his final year at Ohio State, Liddell led the Buckeyes with averages of 19.4 points and 7.9 rebounds and led the Big Ten with 2.6 blocks per game this past season.

Liddell finished his Ohio State career with 92 game appearances and 61 starts, averaging 14.1 points and 6.1 boards across his three years in the program. During the 2021-22 season, Liddell posted double-digit scoring figures in every game and became the 60th player to score at least 1,000 points for Ohio State. Liddell closed his career with a total of 1,298 points in a Buckeye uniform, which puts him behind just 31 players in program history.

The No. 44 overall prospect in the country out of Illinois' Belleville West High School, Liddell showed promise as a freshman contributor for the Buckeyes, putting up 6.7 points and 3.8 rebounds off the bench as he appeared in all 31 games for Ohio State in 2019-20. But Liddell didn't blossom into a start until his second year, in which he averaged 16.2 points and 6.7 boards during a first-team All-Big Ten campaign for the Buckeyes.

“(Liddell has) run his own race. His race was be in college for three years and grow and develop his game, and he is a perfect example of what can happen when you return another year in college and you’re in sync with the coaching staff about player development and you get better,” Ohio State head coach Chris Holtmann said on 97.1 The Fan on Monday. “It doesn’t always happen. As a matter of fact, you can probably site as many examples where guys kind of stay where they were, or in some ways they do lose their draft value. His draft value shot up. He improved by as many as 20, 25 positions, and it’s a credit to the kid.”

Liddell tested the NBA draft process after his second season at Ohio State, but returned to the Buckeye program and improved his stock considerably in his final year. 

Now the Illinois native will set his sights on impacting the Pelicans right off the bat.

Liddell is the first Ohio State player ever drafted by the Pelicans.

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