Ross Gains Eligibility, Set to Rejoin Buckeyes
By Brandon Castel
COLUMBUS, Ohio — LaQuinton Ross is a Buckeye.
For real this time.
The 6-8 wing from Jackson, Miss. received word from the NCAA Thursday evening that he has been granted initial eligibility to participate in college basketball.
“I'm back Buckeye Nation,” Ross posted on his personal Twitter account Thursday night.
According to an Ohio State spokesperson, he will rejoin the team on Dec. 9. That is the day after the last day of finals for Ohio State’s fall quarter. Ross would then be eligible to participate during winter quarter, which could allow him to make the trip to the University of Kansas on Dec. 10 for the Buckeyes showdown with the 14th-ranked Jayhawks.
Ross was expected to be a part of this team at the start of the season after enrolling at Ohio State back in June. He worked out with the team over the summer and impressed enough that most people around the program expected him to contribute right away as a freshman.
Instead, Ross was ruled an academic non-qualifier because his combined SAT score and grade-point-average did not meet NCAA requirements. He was forced to re-take his SAT and a pair of classes from early in his high school career that registered as D’s instead of C’s on his official transcript.
There was no guarantee Ross would return in time to play for the Buckeyes this season, but he stayed with it. He took his official visit to Columbus this past week and was in Value City Arena for Ohio State’s 22-point beatdown of No. 3-ranked Duke.
Now Ross will get to join what looks like one of the best teams in the country. Because he was here over the summer, and is already acquainted with the coaches and players, Ross could step in and contribute immediately for the Buckeyes.
It might be a long-shot for him to get many minutes against Kansas, being his second day back with the team, but he should get all the playing time he wants in the following game against South Carolina Upstate on Dec. 14.
The Buckeyes play at South Carolina, home against Lamar and Miami University (Ohio) before opening Big Ten play against Northwestern on Dec. 28.
Ross was a 4-star prospect out of Life Center Academy in New Jersey, where he transferred as a junior. He was once considered to be a top-10, even top-5, prospect in the class of 2011, but his stock dropped some because of questions about his durability and toughness.
If his head is in it, the talent is there for Ross to be one of the top freshmen in the country. He can score from long range and also slash to the basket. He is a long defender and sees the court well as a passer. Still needs to work on his rebounding, but there is no question that if he’s going to contribute for this Ohio State team, it will be as an outside shooter.
Of course Thad Matta is not going to throw him out there if he doesn’t commit himself to doing all the other things, like rebounding and playing defense. This team has developed a certain toughness over the last three or four years thanks to guys like David Light and Aaron Craft. They go hard every play and expect the same from their teammates.
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