On Tuesday, the Ohio State Buckeyes got some tough news as reports surfaced that Duane Washington would be remaining in the 2021 NBA Draft and foregoing his remaining eligibility with the program. While Buckeye fans knew this was a possibility, it will certainly be a major blow for Chris Holtmann as he hoped to build off last year.
Ohio State's Duane Washington tells me that he is staying in the 2021 NBA Draft. Significant Big Ten news.— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) June 29, 2021
Washington arrived on campus in 2018 as a widely overlooked prospect and overachieved on expectations, playing 94 games for the Buckeyes and averaging an impressive 32.2 minutes, 16.4 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 2.9 assists per game last year. His performance was a key part of Ohio State’s run to a two seed in last year’s NCAA Tournament and a runner-up finish in the 2021 Big Ten Tournament.
Generally speaking, Washington isn’t viewed as a marquee NBA prospect. It’s unlikely he’ll hear his name called on Draft night and incredibly improbable he will slide into the first round. Nonetheless, he’s had solid workout performances in recent weeks and should get more than a fair shot in the Summer and G Leagues to prove himself worthy of an NBA roster spot for next season. And for a player with a few college seasons already under his belt, that’s not a bad spot.
The Buckeyes won’t have it easy moving on from Washington, but should still have players like transfer Jamari Wheeler and Meechie Johnson in the backcourt. And there’s still a reasonably possibility players like EJ Liddell return to campus next season. That should be more than enough to remain in the NCAA Tournament picture.