Top Missouri 2019 target Liddell commits to Ohio State
The Tigers were one of three finalists for the four-star Belleville West power forward.
Oct. 01, 2018
E.J. Liddell, a four-star 2019 recruit and top Missouri basketball target, has committed to play for Ohio State.
Liddell announced his commitment Monday night at 6:10 p.m., choosing the Buckeyes over other finalists Missouri and Illinois.
The 6-foot-8 power forward is widely considered one of the top prospects to come out of the St. Louis talent mine in the 2019 high school class. He is No. 44 in the ESPN 100, which ranks the year’s top overall national recruits.
After Missouri landed the commitment of fellow St. Louis four-star Mario McKinney last Monday, Liddell was quick to follow, saying later in the week that he would be announcing Monday. Liddell and McKinney are teammates for Bradley Beal Elite, a local AAU team and member of the Nike Elite Youth Basketball League. They each took an official visit to MU the weekend of Sept. 8, attending the Missouri-Wyoming football game together.
McKinney's commitment seemed like a positive indicator for MU; missing on Liddell is a big bruise to the Tigers after coach Cuonzo Martin had been frequently praised recently for his success recruiting the St. Louis metro area.
The Belleville West High power forward is often praised for his skill, footwork and defense — particularly to that end, a well-charted propensity for recording highlight-reel blocks. Last year, Liddell led Belleville in scoring with 20.8 points per game. He also led the team in rebounding and blocks.
For Bradley Beal Elite, Liddell averaged 14 points and 5.9 rebounds in 16 EYBL games over the summer.
Missing out on Liddell leaves a hole in the future of Missouri's frontcourt, which has a plethora of talent for now but may be murky in the coming years after Jontay Porter and Jeremiah Tilmon are gone.
Liddell was named Mr. Basketball for the state of Illinois in 2018. He became just the second non-senior to win the award, joining elite company with Jabari Parker, who won the award as a junior at Simeon Career Academy. MU’s Mark Smith won the award in 2017.
Missouri still has two scholarships remaining for the 2019-20 season. One could belong to current walk-on Parker Braun, and another could open up if Porter enters the NBA draft next summer.
Edited by Bennett Durando | firstname.lastname@example.org