It’s official: LaQuinton Ross’ days as an Ohio State Buckeye are finished.
The Buckeye junior forward announced his decision to forego his final year of eligibility and pursue a professional career to OSU coach Thad Matta and the rest of the Buckeye coaching staff Friday, according to a press release. The decision confirms a Monday report by ESPN College Basketball Insider Jeff Goodman.
“My experience at Ohio State has been incredible,” Ross said, according to the release. “Coach 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 departs from OSU after leading the Buckeyes with 15.2 points and 5.9 rebounds per game in 2013-14 as the Buckeyes went 25-10 and finished fifth in the Big Ten after going 10-8 in regular season conference play.
Matta said Ross’ abilities meant a lot to the program’s success in his time here.
“LaQuinton was an instrumental part of our success over the last three years,” Matta said in the release. “His goal is to compete at the highest level possible. He will have that opportunity because of the work he has put in to prepare for this day. He will be missed at Ohio State and we wish him nothing but the very best.”
After the initial report by Goodman, Ross took to Twitter Monday to dispel any rumors that he had decided to head to the NBA.
“To all the people tweeting me I haven’t said anything so guys are wasting your time!! I didn’t make a decision!” a tweet posted at 3:24 p.m. Monday from Ross’ personal account, @qross2011, read.
After OSU’s 60-59 loss to Dayton Thursday in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, Ross said he would make a decision on his future “in the next couple of weeks.”
Ross’ decision to leave early means the Buckeyes have just 10 scholarship players on roster for the 2014-15 season, after sophomore guard Amedeo Della Valle announced Saturday his intentions to head back to Europe and pursue a professional basketball career. The Buckeyes also lose senior guards Aaron Craft and Lenzelle Smith Jr. to graduation.
OSU is set to have four seniors on scholarship next season with Ross’ announcement. Those include guard Shannon Scott, forward Sam Thompson and centers Trey McDonald and Amir Williams.