It turns out E.J. Liddell isn’t ready to close the book on his career at Ohio State. The star forward announced that he will be returning to the Buckeyes for the 2021-22 season.
Liddell explained his decision in an exclusive interview with ESPN. He believes another year at Ohio State will help out his stock in the long run.
“This was a pretty difficult decision,” Liddell said, via 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. Anyone can get signed to play in the NBA. I absolutely could have gotten a contract. But it’s not about getting in the NBA, it’s about staying in for the long-term.”
Last season, Liddell averaged 16.2 points and 6.7 rebounds per game. If he takes that next step in his progression, he should be one of the top candidates to win the Big Ten Player of the Year next season.
Breaking: Ohio State’s E.J. Liddell (@EasyE2432) will withdraw from the NBA Draft and return to the Buckeyes for his junior season, he told ESPN. Liddell will be a leading candidate for Big Ten Preseason Player of the Year honors. https://t.co/AAxuzJR7fr
— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) July 3, 2021
During his interview with ESPN, Liddell also addressed athletes profiting off their name, image and likeness. This new rule played a factor in his decision to stay in school.
“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.”
Although the Buckeyes will have Liddell back in the fold for next season, star guard Duane Washington Jr. has announced that he will keep his name in the NBA Draft.