Greg Bartram-US PRESSWIRE
Is LaQuinton Ross ready to have a break out year?
We continue our look at the 2012-2013 Ohio State Buckeyes men's basketball team by taking a look at sophomore forward LaQuinton Ross.
2010-2011 Life Center Academy Stats: 25.4 PPG, 11.3 RPG, 2.3 APG, 1.7 BPG, 0.8 SPG
2011-2012 Ohio State University Stats: 2 PPG, 0.4 RPG, 0.1 APG, 0 BPG, 0 SPG
A Look Back:
LaQuinton Ross didn't have quite the impact many had hoped when he was first recruited for the 2011-2012 Ohio State men's basketball team. Ross, who had eligibility issues early on, was behind the curve from the start which only was slowing his development. Ross remains a skilled wing who can drive to the rim and showed a potent outside shot towards the end of last season. When it's all said and done with, he could still have quite the bright future with the Buckeyes.
Ross attended classes and worked out with Buckeyes over the summer before leaving the team just prior to the start of official practice in October to work on meeting NCAA academic qualification requirements. Later on, he would meet those requirements and eventually joined the team in early December of last year.
Prior to even stepping foot on campus, Ross was a freakish athlete during his senior campaign in High School, averaging 25.4 points and 11.3 rebounds per game en route to being named All-New Jersey and all-city. His performance during the district championship earned him MVP honors, along with being heralded as an ESPNU Top 75 recruit. Furthermore, Ross was labeled as a 4.5-star recruit, making him one of the most desired basketball players in the country.
As for last season, Ross saw his first action against Miami (Ohio) (12/22/11), hitting a 3-pointer and adding two free throws for five points in only four minutes. He would go on to take the court in two games of the Big Ten Tournament, hitting a jumper in the semifinal win over Michigan (3/10/12). He also matched his previous career best of five points against Illinois (2/21/12), hitting a pair of field goals and one free throw attempt.
Outlook for 2012-2013:
There's little doubt that Ross can play with just about anyone on the court, but Thad Matta has stated in the past that he would like for the sophomore to up the ante a bit on the defensive side of the court. As we have mentioned before, another sophomore, Sam Thompson, is competing for the same spot as Ross and could just as easily fill that role for Matta's 2012/2013 Buckeyes. Even if Ross doesn't earn his way into the starting five, there's plenty to like about the athleticism he has shown. In my eyes, I have to give the starting nod to "Q" as he has the best chance to spark something offensively for the Buckeyes that could up the ceiling for this group of Buckeyes.
Best Case Scenario:
LaQuinton Ross grabs the starting spot and holds it down for the year establishing himself as one of the best second scoring options in the country, while helping lead Ohio State to a deep run in the NCAA March Madness tournament.
Worst Case Scenario:
Ross can't pick up the slack on the defensive side of the ball and loses the position battle to fellow sophomore Sam Thompson. Even in this situation, Ross should still be a capable shooter providing plenty of minutes/points off the bench.