COLUMBUS — Ohio State forward LaQuinton Ross will bypass his final season of eligibility and declare for the NBA draft, the school announced today.
The 6-foot-8 Jackson, Miss., native averaged a team-high 15.2 points and 5.9 rebounds in an enigmatic junior season that inspired wide-ranging debate on his next-level value. ESPN projects Ross as the No. 28 overall prospect in the draft while other scouting services see him as a late second-round selection — if he is drafted.
"My experience at Ohio State has been incredible,” Ross said in a statement. “Coach [Thad] Matta, my teammates, and the staff were amazing to work with on a daily basis. My goal has always been to play at the next level and I believe now is the best time.”
Ross is the ninth player to leave early for the NBA in Matta's 10 seasons at OSU, following Greg Oden, Mike Conley, Daequan Cook, Kosta Koufos, Byron Mullens, Evan Turner, Jared Sullinger, and Deshaun Thomas.
Along with the graduation of Aaron Craft and Lenzelle Smith, Jr., Ross’ departure leaves three OSU with three open starting spots next year. Freshman St. John's Jesuit graduate Marc Loving is expected to take Ross' place at power forward.