Every year there are players who use the summer camp circuit as a springboard into the following season.
But in most cases, those players are coming off of a season in which they received a solid amount of playing time.
So what’s the ceiling of a player who wasn’t cleared to play until December, and once cleared he didn’t see much playing time?
That’s the question for Ohio State sophomore wing LaQuinton Ross, who is a counselor at the LeBron James Skills Academy and has the talent to be one of the nation’s breakout players in 2012-13.
His freshman campaign wasn’t a wasted one, but for a player considered to be one of the best high school players in the country it was a missed opportunity to further assist a team that would go on to reach the Final Four.
“I practiced two times before having to go back home,” remarked Ross to NBCSports.com on Saturday. “It definitely helps me out [to have a full off-season of work].”
A 6-7, 228-pound wing from Jackson, Mississippi, Ross could never get into the flow of things with the Buckeyes following his return. He played in just nine contests, averaging 3.9 minutes and 2.0 points per game.
With William Buford and Jared Sullinger both moving on, Ross is one of the players who will have to step up if Thad Matta’s team is to remain among the elite both in the Big Ten and nationally.
And by the looks of things, Ross is on his way to having that kind of influence.
He’s shown the ability to score in a variety of ways this weekend in Las Vegas, and playing against some of the nation’s best wings should prove beneficial once the season begins.
“I just want to get out there and help the team win,” said Ross when asked about his goals for this season. “We came close last year and some people are already counting us out, but we’re faster and more athletic than we were last year.”
Due to his late start in Columbus, Ohio State fans have not seen anything near the best of what Ross has to offer.
The experiences of this summer will go a long way towards making sure that isn’t the case in 2012-13 as well.
“The whole city [of Columbus] has been waiting to see what I can do,” remarked Ross. If he’s able to give the people what they want to see, Ohio State will have a chance to reach the same heights as the 2011-12 team.