Ohio State men's basketball: LaQuinton Ross appears set to depart

Ohio Mr. Basketball picks Duke; Temple player eyes OSU

By The Columbus Dispatch  • 
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The first day of the first full week of the offseason was anything but quiet for the Ohio State men’s basketball program.

Junior LaQuinton Ross reportedly is leaving, 6-foot-9 Temple transfer Anthony Lee is interested in coming — for a visit, at least — and Ohio Mr. Basketball Luke Kennard was gone yesterday before the Buckeyes had a chance to entertain him on a visit.

Ross, a 6-8 junior forward who led Ohio State in scoring (15.2 points per game) and rebounding (5.9), decided yesterday whether to forgo his final year of eligibility and make himself available for the NBA draft, said Wilson Arroyo, who coached Ross at Life Center Academy in Burlington, N.J.

But Arroyo said Ohio State would not be revealing Ross’ decision for 48 to 72 hours because the announcement “needs to be prepared.”

Earlier in the day, however, Jeff Goodman of ESPN.com, citing a source, reported on his Twitter account that Ross will declare for the draft. Ross responded to that by tweeting, “I didn’t make a decision!”

Ohio State coach Thad Matta said on his call-in show on WBNS radio last night that he had met with Ross during the day and was unaware if Ross had made a decision since then. But he was scheduled to meet with Ross again last night.

ESPN.com draft analyst Chad Ford projects Ross as the 32nd selection in the 2014 NBA draft. DraftExpress.com has Ross projected to go 48th.

Meanwhile, Lee told The Dispatch yesterday that he is “pushing” to make a visit to Ohio State this weekend. As a “graduate transfer,” he would be eligible to play his final season of eligibility next season without having to sit out a year.

Lee said he also plans to visit Indiana, Iowa State, Louisville and Notre Dame before deciding on a destination. He visited Georgetown last weekend.

He is the latest in a line of high-school and college big men the Buckeyes have tried to sign in the past two years in hopes of strengthening their presence inside. Juniors Amir Williams and Trey McDonald averaged 9.8 points and 7.5 rebounds between them in more than 35 minutes per game.

Lee started 27 games for Temple and averaged 13.6 points and a team-leading 8.6 rebounds in 31.1 minutes. The Owls finished 9-22 overall and 4-14 in the American Athletic Conference.

Ohio State coaches had hoped to host Kennard on an official visit in April, but the 6-foot-6 junior guard from Franklin, Ohio, announced last night that he has committed to Duke. Kentucky, Michigan, North Carolina and Ohio State were his other finalists.

Kennard, a lifelong Kentucky fan, chose Duke after attending its 93-81 victory over rival North Carolina on March 8. He and his family sat behind the Duke bench at Cameron Indoor Stadium.

Kennard told reporters at his announcement that he felt at home on the small campus.

“I think Michigan, Ohio State and Kentucky were all right there. I know they were,” Kennard’s father, Mark, said after the announcement. “Luke just felt he’d fit in better at Duke.”

Kennard was named Ohio Mr. Basketball last week after averaging 41 points, 10.4 rebounds and four assists this season. He is the first winner of the award to turn down a scholarship offer from Matta at Ohio State.

bbaptist@dispatch.com

@BBaptistHoops

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