E.J. Liddell commits to Ohio State
Belleville West star forward E.J. Liddell has verbally committed to attend Ohio State.
Liddell, the top-ranked high school player in Illinois, chose OSU over local programs and finalists like Illinois and Missouri.
The 6-foot-7, 220-pound Liddell is rated as the 48th-ranked player across the country by 24/7 Sports and as the No.10 power forward.
“As a little kid, I always watched and followed Ohio State, but I thought I was going to be a football player,” Liddell told the Belleville News-Democrat. “I imagined myself wearing an Ohio State football jersey. Then when I became a basketball player, Ohio State was still the place.’’
Both Illinois and Missouri had pursued Liddell since he was a sophomore, but Columbus felt like the place to be for him, he said.
“It was hard because I had a lot of great options and I could have gone anywhere,” Liddell said. “It was very difficult because I turned down my home state and the state next to us (Missouri). I’ve had relationships with the coaches for a long time and now I’m breaking bonds with them. It’s tough.’’
Liddell, the reigning Illinois Mr. Basketball, also had scholarships offers from such high-profile programs as Connecticut, DePaul, Georgetown, Florida, Marquette and Iowa.
In leading Belleville West (32-2) to the school’s first Class 4A state title last season, Liddell averaged 20.3 points, 8.2 rebounds, 5.9 blocked shots and 2.8 rebounds.
Named the Gatorade Illinois Player of the Year as a junior, Liddell already rates as the school’s all-time leading scorer (1,759 points) and blocked shots (356).