In an announcement that should shock no one, Ohio State’s star forward EJ Liddell will not return for his senior year and will enter the NBA Draft. Liddell announced his decision in a Twitter post, in which he thanked the coaching staff and Ohio State community.
The announcement came following Ohio State’s Round of 32 exit to eventual Final Four-bound Villanova. The 71-61 loss to the Wildcats was no doubt a disappointment to Liddell, his team, and Buckeye fans. I’d imagine it is especially difficult given the context of the previous year’s tournament, where Ohio State suffered a massive upset as a No. 2-seed to No. 15 Oral Roberts. Seeing as COVID-19 cancelled the 2020 tournament, a Liddell-led Ohio State team was never able to advance to the Sweet 16.
Despite the Buckeyes’ postseason woes, Liddell had a tremendous three-year career and will go down as an Ohio State legend. Liddell earned first-team all-Big Ten honors in his sophomore and junior years and was top-five in KenPom’s 2022 player of the year rankings. Unfortunately, Ohio State’s already-thin supporting cast was banged up towards the end of the year, and the group was unable to reach their mid-season peak again.
Liddell is projected as a late-first round or early-second round pick in the 2022 NBA Draft. Personally, I think Liddell’s game translates tremendously to the pro level, and I look forward to seeing him excel in the league.