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Belleville West's E.J. Liddell plans to enter name for NBA Draft

"Reaching the NBA has always been a dream of mine since I started playing on my first YMCA team. Timing is everything, trust me I won't rush," Liddell said

BELLEVILLE, Ill. — After a sophomore season that saw all the highs and lows college basketball has to offer, Belleville native and Ohio State star forward E.J. Liddell is looking towards the next level.

Liddell announced on Twitter Wednesday he plans to enter his name in the 2021 NBA Draft while maintaining his college eligibility.

"I feel so fortunate for what I've experienced in my two seasons as a Buckeye and what we've accomplished together. The success I've had wouldn't have been possible without the support of my teammates, coaches and family who have supported me along this amazing journey," Liddell wrote. "Choosing to play for Coach Holtmann and The Ohio State University has been one of the best decisions I've made in my life, and I thank God for every opportunity given to me. After spending time consulting with my family and coaches I have decided I will be entering my name into the 2021 NBA Draft while maintaining my college eligibility. Reaching the NBA has always been a dream of mine since I started playing basketball on my first YMCA team. Timing is everything, trust me I won't rush. Go Buckeyes!"

The former Belleville West star and two-time Illinois Mr. Basketball was named a member of the first-team All-Big 10 for his sophomore season at Ohio State where he led his team in scoring (16 ppg), rebounding (6.5 rpg) and total shots blocked (26). 

Liddell helped Ohio State to a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament, where they were upset by No. 15 seed Oral Roberts. Liddell was sent hateful and obscene messages on social media after the loss, and spoke out about the harassment.

As mentioned, Liddell will keep his college eligibility throughout the draft process, so a return to Ohio State is not completely out of the picture.

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