Ohio State men’s basketball junior forward LaQuinton Ross looks to have more of a role this season for the Buckeyes, and if OSU wants to repeat its recent performances in March Madness, the team will need him.
The 6-foot-8-inch Jackson, Miss., native is expected to be a key contributor this year after spending most of last season as a reserve. Although Ross didn’t really emerge as a contributor until the Buckeyes’ run to the Elite 8, scoring 53 points in 61 minutes during the tournament, he’s always had the potential to be a star.
Ross, the 43rd best player coming out of the 2011 recruiting class according to rivals.com, ran into academic problems that forced him to sit out the majority of his freshman season. He officially joined the team in December 2011 and played sparingly, averaging just two points per game.
During his sophomore season, Ross played in all 37 of the team’s games and averaged 8.3 points per contest, showing flashes of exceptional play when he got the chance. Against then-No.3 Michigan Feb. 5, Ross scored 16 points and grabbed 5 rebounds. He followed that performance with 11 points against then-No. 1 Indiana at home Feb. 10.
His career high came against Northern Kentucky Dec. 1, when he scored 22 points on 8-12 shooting.
Although Ross was proficient during the regular season, he really made an impact in the NCAA Tournament, where he averaged 15 points per game and made some huge shots. The most notable of those was his game winning 3-pointer to beat Arizona in the Sweet 16. He finished that game with 17 points.
With the departure of last year’s leading scorer Deshaun Thomas (19.8 points per game), the Buckeyes will need someone to replace him. Ross certainly has the ability to be just that guy.
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