It didn't take long for LaQuinton Ross to declare for the 2014 NBA Draft. In fact, the former Ohio State forward seemed to have his mind made up on his future just moments after the Buckeyes' NCAA Tournament defeat at the hands of Dayton.
"Just basically how I feel and getting insight into where I could go and what we'll have next year," Ross answered when asked what factors would go into his NBA decision. "I'm just going to sit down and talk to my coaches and see what they say and see what my family says and we'll go from there."
One week later, Ross filed the necessary paperwork to forego his senior season.
Ross' decision came to a surprise to some in Columbus, who didn't view the 6-8, 225-pound forward in the same light that they did former Buckeyes Jared Sullinger and Deshaun Thomas. Ohio State's leading scorer and rebounder this past season, Ross averaged 15.2 points and 5.9 rebounds per game in the Buckeyes' 2014 campaign.
But unlike Sullinger and Thomas, Ross failed to lead Ohio State to a deep NCAA Tournament run with the Buckeyes being ousted in their first game of The Big Dance. Now looking ahead to his professional career, Ross will begin to try to erase doubts about his game at this week's NBA Draft Combine, where he was one of 60 prospects invited to be a part of the annual scouting event.
The consensus on Ross is that he'll be a late-second round selection, with NBADraft.net projecting him to the No. 48 overall pick, DraftExpress.com taking him at the No. 52 pick and ESPN's Chad Ford ranking him as his No. 35 overall prospect. That hardly guarantees that Ross will hear his name called by an NBA team on June 26, however, as teams have shown a propensity in recent years for using late picks of foreign prospects and stashing them overseas.
A team of course could do the same with Ross, much like the San Antonio Spurs did with Thomas after taking him with the 58th overall pick a year ago. In fact, it's hard to imagine Ross -- drafted or not -- being on an NBA roster this upcoming season, as playing overseas or the NBA's D-League are both far more likely options.
That doesn't mean that there's not plenty to like about Ross as a prospect, as his raw scoring ability was on display when he scored at least 19 points in six of the final seven games of his college career. With the size of a power forward, Ross possesses a deft enough touch from the perimeter to play three positions at the next level and the league's gravitation toward smaller lineups should only help his pro prospects.
Ross' inconsistencies and indifference to defense, however, leave him on the bubble when it comes to this year's draft. For a player who seemed certain he was leaving from the time the final buzzer of his college career sounded, his future is anything but that, but it can become much more solidified with a strong showing in Chicago this week.