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December 9, 2013

Ross named B1G Player of the Week

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COLUMBUS, Ohio- -- A resurgent LaQuinton Ross was named the Big Ten's Player of the Week Monday.

The Ohio State junior forward garnered such recognition after averaging 21.5 points and six rebounds a contest in triumphs against Maryland and Central Connecticut State.

Ross dropped 20 points -- including four three-pointers -- on the Terrapins Wednesday and scored 23 points against the Blue Devils Saturday.

While he may find himself on a bit of a hot streak, Ross has struggled at times this season for the Buckeyes -- totaling just seven points on 24-percent shooting in three-consecutive games against Marquette, American and Wyoming.

"Well I go back to when he hadn't played in a couple games that well and I said, 'Look: we need LaQuinton to play at a certain level,'" said coach Thad Matta said last Tuesday. "Not greatness or anything like that, we just need him to be a consistent player and I think he can be that for us. I think from the standpoint of what that does for our team, it obviously makes us better because it's another guy out there that can handle pass and shoot."

Ross seemed to break out of such a scoring slump after notching 17 points against North Florida on Nov. 29 and has continued that type of production since.

But it might've taken a talk with Matta, who pulled Ross aside before the game against the Ospreys, to try and help him find his footing.

"He and I talked the other day and I just said, 'Hey look: I can't -- we can't -- make shots for you. We can't think for you out there on the court,'" Matta said.

For Ross, a 6-foot-8 220-pound potential NBA lottery pick, the honor is the first of his career.

Perhaps ironically, for Ross to be successful, it might need to start with blocking out of the future prospect of playing professional basketball.

"I think sometimes when you watch him on tape, and maybe I'm wrong -- you guys watch him play -- but he looks like he might not be locked in and he might be not be sure what his role is, what shot he should take, is it a good shot, is it a bad shot, I'm a player, I'm a this, I'm a that, am I a three, am I a four, should I go to the league early? Should I come back? "I mean, I know everything that's going on," said North Florida coach Matthew Driscoll, who developed a friendship with Ross after recruiting him in middle school and high school to play at Baylor.

"So, to his credit tonight for some reason he seemed to be locked in unfortunately. I asked him to not be. I told him, 'You know, you really need to do lottery status tonight.' I couldn't get his mind on the NBA, though."

And when Ross' mind isn't dwelling on the future, the Buckeyes seem better for it.

Ohio State is set to play Bryant Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. at the Schottenstein Center.

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