The second LaQuinton Ross submitted a tweet expressing frustration shortly after No. 6 Ohio State beat Minnesota on Tuesday night, the freshman knew he had made a mistake.
Despite a quick attempt to delete the ill-advised message, it was too late. It had already gone viral: “I don't know how much longer I can take this BULL----!!!!!”
There was still one person that most certainly hadn’t seen the message – Thad Matta.
“He came to see me when I got done with (the postgame press conference),” Matta said. “He said, ‘Hey, I think I made a mistake.’ I’m like, ‘I’ve only been gone for 10 minutes. What happened?’ He told me what he did and said he was going to issue an apology.”
Ross’ frustration likely stemmed from not getting any minutes against the Gophers despite the fact Matta used 10 players in the first half of the Buckeyes’ victory. To date, Ross has played in only six games and has made two of his 10 shot attempts.
Coming into his freshman year, Ross was figured to be an instant contributor. Scout.com rated him as a top-50 prospect in the 2011 recruiting class and his proficiency on offense was a perceived need for the Buckeyes.
However, Ross’ enrollment was delayed until December after the NCAA ruled him academically ineligible in September. While he was home in Jackson, Mississippi completing his academic requirements, Ross missed a good portion of Ohio State’s preseason workouts.
Because of his propensity to score in bunches in high school, fans have often wondered why Matta has been reluctant to use Ross this season.
Though Matta said the freshman continues to make strides in practice, it’s likely Ross simply hasn’t earned the coach’s complete trust while making the transition to the college game.
Though Matta wasn’t outwardly upset by the error in judgment by Ross, the head coach did say he’d rather him focus his energy on practice and improving his game rather than channeling frustration out to the public eye through social media.
“I want him hungry,” Matta said. “I think 'Q' knows he’s got a tremendous future here, there’s no doubt about that. He’s been awesome in practice.”
Ross publicly apologized for his tweet shortly after sending out the initial one.
"I let my emotions get the best of me!!! I want to apologize to #buckeyenation that should have been something I took up with my coaches!!" He also added, "At the end of the day I'm just a competitor."
It has been five games since Ross made his last appearance, which came on Jan. 25 against Penn State. With only five games remaining in Ohio State’s regular season, it’s possible Ross sees his window of opportunity to be a contributor on this year’s team slipping away.
Sophomore All-America big man Jared Sullinger, despite never facing similar issues with his playing time, offered the freshman some advice.
“I pretty much told him it’s going to be all right," Sullinger said. "Most talented players have been through something like this. But to put it out there in the public eye was wrong. He understood that he was wrong.
"All he can do is just get better and keep plugging away and just compete. Even though he’s not out there on the court physically, he’s helping us in practice (by) giving us his best every day. I think he understands that now. He understands that he has next year. He also has this year. You never know what can happen.”
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