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Subject: "ESPN INSIDER breakdown" Previous topic | Next topic
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4. "ESPN INSIDER breakdown"
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Four-star prospect E.J. Liddell, No. 44 overall in the ESPN 100, has committed to Ohio State. He picked the Buckeyes over Illinois and Missouri. Liddell, a 6-foot-7 forward from Belleville West High School in Belleville, Illinois, was named Mr. Basketball in the state last year as a junior.

The only other player to receive that award as a junior was Jabari Parker of the Chicago Bulls, who played his high school basketball at Simeon. Liddell also led his high school team to a state championship, and it was the first non-Chicago team to win in the 4A classification since 2003.

Why he committed: Ohio State is off to a quick start, with an early fantastic class. The momentum of the class and playing with other good players were important to Liddell. He was a priority for the Buckeyes, and they never wavered in their approach.

"I love the coaching staff and the incoming players. Coach Holtmann has built a team that could compete for a national title, and I know I can help contribute to that," Liddell told ESPN.

What he brings: Liddell has a prototypical power forward's body but has the versatility of today's player. He's a load on the blocks as he creates fouls in the post. He can drop step and power his way to points or beat you with the turnaround jump shot over either shoulder. He is also skilled and savvy enough to make a reverse pivot in the mid-post to face up a bigger and slower defender.

His game is not limited to the paint, as he has shown the ability to make an open 3-point shot. He is really effective from 15 to 17 feet. Defensively, Liddell is an excellent shot-blocker for his size. As a junior in high school last year, he averaged six blocks per game.

"He's a tremendous shot-blocker at 6--7. His timing to the ball is unreal," Bradley Beal Elite coach Corey Frazier said.

He will start defending the opposing team's power forward, but in a pinch, he can switch up or down one spot and be very valuable. Offensively, he is a real mismatch as a power forward inside or a stretch forward outside. Liddell brings answers to the Buckeyes by way of scoring, rebounding and shot-blocking.

How does he fit: When you look at Chris Holtmann's teams at Butler, they always played with two versatile forwards. He has taken that blueprint to the Buckeyes, and he has landed one of the best in the Class of 2019. Liddell fits the system so well. Ohio State runs a ball screen motion offense, and Liddell would be utilized as a screener and be able to slip, roll or pop out for a jumper and be very effective. He and (No. 29) Alonzo Gaffney become bookends for the future in the front court, as they bring some more talent but different games that can complement each other. Jaedon LeDee will be a sophomore, and the Buckeyes will have the beef and skill they need to match other Big Ten front courts. C.J. Jackson and Keyshawn Woods give Ohio State perimeter experience as seniors. Liddell fits well into the scheme, and there is big need, so the timing is perfect.

Whom he reminds us of: Paul Millsap (Denver Nuggets). They both have similar frames and are high-percentage offensive players who can go inside and out. They are prototypical versatile forwards who started their careers on the inside and will slowly move to the outside without sacrificing their paint game.

How the class is shaping up: The Buckeyes have landed three top-100 players (also D.J. Carton and Alonzo Gaffney) and could be finished for the 2019 season. This would put Holtmann and his staff in the envious position of moving ahead to 2020. Don't forget Holtmann got the job in June 2017 and put together an exceptionally strong first recruiting class (No. 21) before coaching a game. This group should be ranked even higher.

I wanna go to where the martyrs went
the brown figures on the walls of my apart-a-ment...


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EJ Liddell keeps Illinois' Mr. Basketball award in metro-east...(swipe) [View all] , ThaTruth, Thu Mar-22-18 01:58 PM
Subject Author Message Date ID
Iowa State raiding the cupboards i see
Mar 22nd 2018
man I gotta root for the Buckeyes now...
Oct 04th 2018
Oct 04th 2018

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