Sunday, March 31, 2013

The Highs and Lows of LaQuinton Ross' Weekend

LaQuinton Ross sent Ohio State to the Elite Eight with a three pointer against Arizona. Just type his name into Google and you can pick from tons of articles that tell you that. However, Ross was involved in an equally as crucial three pointer that played a tremendous role in sending Wichita State to the Final Four. Ross' shot may have gotten the attention of the media, but his defense went virtually unnoticed (to my knowledge).

With 2:30 left in the game, Ohio State had nearly completed their comeback. Wichita State was up three and had the ball. Ohio State was really one stop away from getting in great position to win the game. Wichita State broke the pressure and with 17 seconds left on the shot clock had the ball pulled out:

In the photo above, you can see the start to Wichita State's high pick and roll. Ross is circled and at this point is in reasonable guarding position on Tekele Cotton considering the context of the play.

Continuing on with the play, off of the pick and roll Ross does the right thing by sinking into the lane. It looks like he had the defensive assignment of showing on the roll man. His job is to be in a position where he can make the pass to the roller difficult while also being able to close out on his actual man. At this point in the play (above), Ross is in position to do just that.

The pick and roll ultimately proves unsuccessful for Wichita State. Ohio State switched the screen and Deshaun Thomas winds up guarding Fred Van Vleet (the ball handler). It appears that Wichita State is content with simply spreading the floor and letting Van Vleet create as the shot clock winds down. However, before Van Vleet looks to make his move, this happens:

Maybe somebody reading this can shed light on what exactly Ross is doing in the GIF above. The pick and roll is over, so he should be closer to the passing lane between Van Vleet and Cotton. He points at a screen occurring behind him and then right after points at his man (Cotton). I think he just got mentally lost on the floor and pointed at Cotton only to realize at the last second that was his man.

The point here is not that Ross is a bad defender. Obviously this one play does not define Ross as a defender or as a player in general. The real point is the focus on offense over defense. In my opinion, Ross' defensive blunder was just as important as his offensive heroics. However, the two plays were not treated close to equally in the analysis of Ohio State's weekend performance.


  1. Nice post. Either he lost track as you said or he was trying to direct Shannon Scott onto his man for whatever reason. I hope Thomas stays another year, because with the development I expect from Ross and their other sophomores, that team would be nasty (though lacking depth inside).

  2. Agreed, I try not to focus too much on next season until after the NCAA tournament, but you're right is Thomas stays OSU will be really tough.