Ohio State's E.J. Liddell Declares for 2022 NBA Draft After March Madness Exit

Erin WalshMarch 26, 2022

AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar

Ohio State junior forward E.J. Liddell has declared for the 2022 NBA draft following the Buckeyes' second-round elimination from the NCAA tournament in a 71-61 loss to Villanova, he announced Friday. 

E.J. Liddell @EasyE2432

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Liddell's decision to declare for the NBA draft comes as little surprise after Buckeyes head coach Chris Holtmann told Paul Keels and Ron Stokes on 97.1 FM (h/t Land-Grant Holy Land's Connor Lemons) that "all indications" were that the 2021-22 season would be his last at Ohio State. 

Holtmann said in a statement Friday:

β€œI’m really excited for EJ as he begins his NBA career. He has developed and grown significantly as a player every single year as a Buckeye, and that will continue to be the case as an NBA player. E.J. has represented our program at the highest level with his excellent play, leadership and of course, his trademark smile. E.J. will always be a Buckeye. We love you, my man.”

Liddell spent his entire college career with the Buckeyes, enjoying a breakout 2021-22 campaign in which he averaged 19.4 points, 7.9 rebounds and 2.5 assists while shooting 49 percent from the floor and 37.4 percent from deep.

The 21-year-old was also a two-time first-team All-Big Ten honoree and a consensus All-American this year. 

While Liddell is a talented player, he's not expected to be a top-10 pick. Bleacher Report NBA draft analyst Jonathan Wasserman has him going to the Chicago Bulls as the 22nd overall pick in this year's draft. 

"Liddell's improved shooting and defensive coverage/playmaking have helped convince scouts not to worry as much about a 6'7", 240-pound, post-up-heavy big," Wasserman wrote.

Auburn's Jabari Smith, Gonzaga's Chet Holmgren, Duke's Paolo Banchero and Purdue's Jaden Ivey are expected to be the top picks in this year's draft. 


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