All season long, Ohio State men’s basketball struggled with scoring.
In 19 of the Buckeyes’ 35 games this season, they scored less than 70 points, going 11-8 in those matchups en route to finishing the season 25-10.
The team has already lost three players for next season — senior guards Aaron Craft and Lenzelle Smith Jr., as well as sophomore guard Amedeo Della Valle, who is heading back to Europe — and now might be without its leading scorer.
According to a report Monday by ESPN’s Jeff Goodman, junior forward LaQuinton Ross has decided to forego his senior season and enter the 2014 NBA Draft.
Ross, however, took to Twitter to dispel any rumors that he is in fact leaving Columbus after leading the Buckeyes with 15.2 points and 5.9 rebounds per game in 2013-14.
“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. from Ross’ personal account, @qross2011, read.
An OSU athletic spokesman did not immediately respond to an email requesting comment Monday afternoon.
The report comes two days after sophomore guard Amedeo Della Valle announced via Twitter he was leaving OSU to pursue a professional career in Europe.
Ross’ departure would leave the Buckeyes with 10 scholarship players on roster for next season, even with the addition of the four players already signed for the 2014-15 season. Among those are guard D’Angelo Russell, center David Bell and forwards Keita Bates-Diop and Jae’Sean Tate.
Without Ross, OSU coach Thad Matta would have three scholarships to work with to try bolstering the roster, as NCAA rules allow college programs to have 13 players on scholarship each season.
Following OSU’s 60-59 loss to Dayton in the second round of the NCAA Tournament Thursday, Ross said he would decide on his future “in the next couple of weeks.”
“Just basically how I feel, get insight of where I could go (in the NBA Draft),” Ross said Thursday after the loss to the Flyers about the factors that would play into his decision. “What we would have next year, sit down with my coaches and my family. Taking that advice in.”
After losing to Kentucky 62-60 in the Sweet Sixteen as the NCAA Tournament’s No. 1 overall seed in 2011, former Buckeye stars Jared Sullinger and William Buford elected to come back to OSU for another year — Sullinger’s sophomore year and Buford’s senior year. But after the loss to Dayton, Ross said he doesn’t know if he’d do the same.
“I don’t know man. They knew what they was coming back to. They had a great system, a great system for them,” Ross said. “That year that Will came back they brought in our class and they knew they were going to have players around them.”
Ross is projected as the 18th pick of the second round by the Chicago Bulls in the NBA Draft according to DraftExpress.com. The draft is set for June 26.
On his final call-in show of the season Monday with 97.1 The Fan, Matta said he spoke with Ross that afternoon, and then would do the same in the evening to discuss his future. After seeing his team bow out to Dayton in the second round Thursday, Matta said he “always wants what’s best for our guys.”
“If it’s right, I’ll be the first to tell him to go,” Matta said. “He’s got to sit down and look at it. I think he’s capable of coming back here and having a great senior year if he wants to do that.”
Ross did not immediately respond to The Lantern’s request for comment Monday.
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