Ohio State sophomore forward EJ Liddell is pulling his name out of the NBA Draft process and returning to the Buckeyes. Liddell spoke to ESPN about his decision.
“This was a pretty difficult decision,” Liddell told ESPN. “No one in my family has ever been this close to getting to a professional league. After many conversations with my parents and coaches I understood that returning was the best thing for me.”
Liddell finished second on the Buckeyes this past season in scoring at 16.2 points per game. He led the team with 6.7 rebounds per game. Liddell started all 29 games he played in 2020-2021, shooting .474 from the field and .338 from three-point territory.
According to his conversation with ESPN, Liddell was told by NBA personnel that he needed to continue to work on his defense and perimeter game, which should be easy enough to do now that he won’t be required to stay in the paint as much as he was last year.
Liddell grew as a scorer and shooter between his freshman and sophomore years, and he will look to do the same between his sophomore and junior seasons. Losing Liddell would have been devastating for the Buckeyes, as they just lost leading scorer Duane Washington because he decided to keep his name in the draft.
Shortly after the report from ESPN, Liddell tweeted the following.
One of the other reasons why Liddell decided to come back is because of the NCAA’s new rules for players to capitalize on their name, image, and likeness.
“That changes the game really,” Liddell told ESPN. “It’s good that I could be making money. That should have been happening for a long time. The coaches are telling me that being the face of this team and one of the most publicized guys in the conference, I could make a really good profit off that. How much, I’m not sure yet. I haven’t looked into that enough yet.”
Liddell was a First-Team All-Big Ten selection last year and will be a popular preseason pick for more accolades later this fall.