After leading Ohio State in both scoring and rebounding this past season, junior forward LaQuinton Ross has made the decision to forego his senior season and enter the 2014 NBA Draft. The news was announced by the school Friday afternoon.
“LaQuinton was an instrumental part of our success over the last three years,” Ohio State head coach Thad Matta said in the release. “His goal is to compete at the highest level possible. He will have that opportunity because of the work he has put in to prepare for this day. He will be missed at Ohio State and we wish him nothing but the very best.”
After a string of quality performances in the 2013 NCAA tournament Ross put together his most productive season in Columbus as a junior, averaging 15.2 points and 5.9 rebounds per game. Ross surpassed the 20-point mark in seven games this season, scoring a career-high 26 points in Ohio State’s Big Ten quarterfinal victory over Nebraska.
That win over Nebraska was also one of five games in which Ross posted a double-double this season. Ross becomes the second player to leave the Ohio State program with eligibility remaining, as guard Amedeo Della Valle made the decision to play for a professional team in his native Italy days after the Buckeyes’ season came to an end in the NCAA tournament.
Losing Ross, ranked the 63rd-best prospect by DraftExpress.com, means that Ohio State will have one less proven scorer in 2014-15. However his departure opens up more opportunities for incoming freshman wings Keita Bates-Diop and Jae’Sean Tate, with guard D’Angelo Russell and center David Bell joining them in Ohio State’s 2014 recruiting haul.
GAME OF THE NIGHT: No. 10 West Virginia at No. 6 Kansas, 7:00 p.m.
The last time these two teams got together, West Virginia actually knocked off Kansas in Morgantown. It was the third time in the last three seasons that WVU has beaten KU at home. So there’s some revenge at stake here. But there’s also the whole Big 12 title race, which West Virginia currently leads. If the Mountaineers win tonight, they’ll be up by two games on Kansas with the tie breaker and just seven games left to play. The Jayhawks regular season title streak could be over if that happens.
THIS ONE’S GOOD, TOO: No. 8 Michigan State at No. 18 Purdue, 7:00 p.m.
We think the Spartans are back to their early season form after wins over Maryland (at home), Northwestern, Rutgers and Michigan. If Michigan State really wants to prove something to the college basketball world, they will go into West Lafayette tonight and get a win. Denzel Valentine vs. Raphael Davis will be fun.
FIVE THINGS TO WATCH FOR
- Pitt will pay a visit to No. 12 Miami in a game the Panthers could really use a win in. Pitt hasn’t been the most consistent team in the country and without adding a few quality wins they could be looking at the bubble.
- Duquesne will be paying a visit to No. 19 Dayton, who moved into a tie for first place in the Atlantic 10 thanks to VCU’s loss on Saturday.
- Georgia is right there on the bubble, and they will have a chance to try and push themselves into a better spot when they play at No. 22 Kentucky tonight.
- Creighton probably has to win out to have a shot of making the NCAA tournament, and that includes tonight, when they host No. 5 Xavier.
- No. 7 Virginia will be hosting Virginia Tech, who picked off the Wahoos in Blacksburg earlier this year.
THE REST OF THE TOP 25
- No. 1 Villanova at DePaul, 8:30 p.m.
- No. 25 Wichita State at Drake, 8:00 p.m.
It’s Tuesday, which means that it is once again time for the NBC Sports Player of the Year Power Rankings.
And you’ll be shocked to find out that Oklahoma guard Buddy Hield is still No. 1 in those rankings. By a pretty wide margin.
The rest of the top 10?
They can be found here, at the CBT FaceBook page. Follow that page for the countdown: