Ross Set To Rejoin To Matta's Buckeyes

The Ohio State men's basketball team blasted No. 3 Duke on Tuesday and got even more good news recently when it learned freshman guard LaQuinton Ross would soon join the Buckeyes. Head coach Thad Matta and two of Ross' future teammates talked Friday afternoon about what the Mississippi native could bring to the team.

After months of waiting, freshman LaQuinton Ross will soon join the Ohio State men's basketball team.

A not-so-well-kept secret was addressed by head coach Thad Matta Friday afternoon. Ross has satisfied NCAA academic requirements and will become a Buckeye starting Dec. 9, the day after fall quarter exams at OSU are concluded.

Classroom-related issues prevented the Jackson, Miss., native from starting the season with the Buckeyes. He arrived at Ohio State in June to begin classes and summer conditioning with the rest of the team, but the NCAA declared Ross a non-qualifier in September. Ross then returned to Mississippi to work on his college eligibility.

Ross was on hand for the Nov. 29 game against No. 3 Duke and told BSB's Ari Wasserman that he was "very confident" that he got the grades he needed and would be at Ohio State in early December.

OSU assistant coach Jeff Boals took to the social networking site Twitter.com Thursday to confirm Ross' suspicion.

"Breaking news: Laquinton (sic) Ross @qross2011 is officially a Buckeye!!!!," Boals wrote.

Matta then addressed Ross' situation on Friday. Ross only worked out with his college teammates twice before the NCAA issues arose, and Matta said Ross will have to bring a team-first attitude to Columbus.

"As I told him, the best thing you can possibly do is come in here and look at this team and say, ‘How do I help it?,' " Matta said. "It's not, ‘How do we help you?' You'll learn a lot quicker if you have that mindset."

That opinion was echoed by sophomores Aaron Craft and Lenzelle Smith Jr.

"One of the best things about LaQuinton is he's a good person," Craft said. "He's a good guy to have around. He fit right in with us in the summer. … He's not going to come in and change our team completely. He's going to come in and accent our team very well. He's going to find his niche soon enough. He'll help us become the best basketball team we can."

Added Smith: "I think he's very capable of coming in here and adding to this team. Q is long for his size and position. He can handle the ball very well. Also I know he can shoot the ball very well, too. It's going to be hard for other teams to match up against him. ... I think if he comes in here with the right attitude he'll make this program better and himself."

Ross could be in uniform as early as the Dec. 10 showdown at No. 15 Kansas. Don't expect him to play against the Jayhawks, however, as Matta said it was doubtful because at that time Ross would not have participated in any team practices since his return.

Whether Ross will quickly find his way on the court remains to be seen. Matta insinuated that much of that has to do with what Ross did while in Mississippi.

"We've had contact with him, but we couldn't see him or work him out," Matta said. "From that standpoint, just what he's been doing will be big for him."

Rated a four-star recruit by Scout.com, Ross was figured to be an instant impact player for the Buckeyes on the wing. The nation's No. 44 player in the 2011 class, Ross was the second-highest rated freshman in Ohio State's class, trailing only guard Shannon Scott, who was ranked No. 32.

Ross could give the Buckeyes a special threat once he gets on the court. He boasts impressive length at 6-8 and has that rare ability to be a big man who can also shoot the ball from long range.

"I definitely think his offensive game is one of the better ones we had in the freshman class," Craft said. "With his length and what he can do, it creates matchup problems. That's always something we always have to worry about on other teams when they have a taller guy that can dribble. It's always a tough matchup.

"I think that's something we can add to our arsenal. If he's willing to come in and pay his dues and understand that it's going to be a process to learn our plays, learn our defensive schemes and things like that. He can definitely come in and score the ball."


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