Undrafted rookie free agent forward LaQuinton Ross is going to sign in Italy with Victoria Libertas, according to Sportando.
LaQuinton Ross is signing in Italy with @VLPesaro, according to sources
— Sportando (@sportando) August 8, 2014
This is both surprising and unsurprising to me. Over the past couple of years, I’ve written a lot of words about Ross as a writer at Land Grant Holy Land and as a general draft analyst. Never in the time before this April did I think we’d be talking Ross potentially going undrafted and having to sign in Europe for a season.
But that’s exactly what happened. He went to the draft combine out of shape, and ended up having the highest body fat percentage of any participant. As a 6’8 wing who was known for having a less than stellar defensive penchant, that’s unacceptable. While he apparently performed somewhat well in workouts, that initial first impression was too much for some teams to shake.
Also, it’s worth mentioning that at this specific moment, Ross is kind of caught between positions. Ohio State played small for a majority of last season with Ross at the four. Because of that, a lot of his current skills are geared towards that position. He’s a good offensive rebounder, a semi-decent post defender, and a solid option in the high post. Really, the only professional level perimeter skill he has right now is the ability to shoot the three from NBA range. His dribble drive game is okay enough to attack closeouts, but he still has a pretty high dribble and it probably wouldn’t be as effective on the next level because of it. Plus, because of his time spent in the paint, he never played a ton of perimeter defense in college and struggles when played against smaller players.
There’s still a good chance that Ross can come back to America and make the NBA. Any guy with his shooting range at a legitimate 6’8 can make it. But he needs to commit to improving on the defensive end and getting into better shape before that will happen. Maybe it’ll be next year, maybe it’ll be never. But until then, he’ll be in Italy.