On Monday afternoon, it was reported that LaQuinton Ross will be forgoing his senior season at the Ohio State and declaring for the 2014 NBA Draft. While Ross’ role on the team grew in the past couple seasons, his decision to go pro is not a wise one.
He showed improvement over his three seasons for Thad Matta and the Buckeyes. As a junior this past year, he led the team with 15.2 points and 5.9 rebounds per game. In the conference, he ranked 10th in scoring and 13th in rebounds. In the nation, he ranked 243rd in points scored and outside the top 250 in rebounds per game.
Ross was an average-to-good player with plenty of potential and room for improvement. At 6-foot-8 and 220-pounds, he’s got the physical makeup you want in a professional small/power forward. Staying for another year and perfecting his skills would have been a much better route for him to take. He’ll get drafted, but his stock would certainly benefit from another year of growth in college.
The junior shot 44-percent from the floor and 35-percent from behind the arc. He was often inconsistent and was not reliable enough to carry the offensive load game after game. As I’ve said before, he has potential — he just has yet to come close to it. Unfortunately, the money did all the talking in this decision and that will backfire.
Currently, Ross is an average player out of college that I would expect to get drafted. From me, he receives a second-round grade at best because of the size and potential that he possesses. Should he stay for another year, it’s not unlikely that he upgrades himself to a for-sure first rounder, maybe even a top-10 pick.
With Aaron Craft graduating, Ross would become the premier player for the Buckeyes and would garner all the attention that Craft got this past season. All eyes would be on him, and since players usually progress upwards from year to year, he would show up and show out for the whole world to see. Instead, he’s declaring and letting an underwhelming 2013 season determine when and where he gets drafted.
I can’t argue with his decision; there’s a lot of money waiting for him on the other side. However, I do disagree with it. LaQuinton Ross is a solid player, but another year at the Ohio State could turn him into a great player and significantly raise his first-year paycheck.