Men's basketball | Ohio State teammates Luther Muhammad, E.J. Liddell impress in Kingdom Summer League
A grueling week of summer workouts and a handful of injuries limited the impact of Ohio State men’s basketball players in Sunday night’s Kingdom Summer League action.
At South High School, four current Buckeyes and one former player all took the court as part of the weekly, free league that is open to the public. After leaving last week’s game early with an injury to his left ankle, sophomore guard Duane Washington Jr. was not present for this week’s games.
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The same went for freshman Alonzo Gaffney, who has been limited early on in his Ohio State tenure due to injury. He played last week but not this week. Also absent was senior forward Andre Wesson.
That left Musa Jallow, E.J. Liddell, Luther Muhammad, Kaleb Wesson and former player Keyshawn Woods to handle the headlining duty. Here’s a breakdown of how each of them performed.
Muhammad, Wesson help power blowout win
In the first game of the afternoon, Muhammad put up a team-best 25 points as team Flee Kicks routed Team Pro, 92-59, in a game that featured a running clock for the second half.
Again, it merits mention that the style of play best resembles an organized open gym session, which puts a premium on individual guard play and often renders big guys irrelevant. That remained true for the slimmed-down Wesson, who told The Dispatch last week that he’s down to 265 pounds.
He finished with four points, often running up and down the court without touching the ball. On multiple occasions, Wesson caught the ball and looked to distribute rather than force a shot himself, and on one possession he threw a full-court pass for an assist on a layup.
He displayed some speed and agility with a baseline spin move from the left block but missed the finishing reverse layup, and on another occasion he had a wide-open dunk slip out of hands and sail out of bounds.
“Whoopsie!” the in-game announcer yelled, as Wesson laughed and headed back down the court.
Muhammad, meanwhile, continued to impress his will upon the game. He scored nine points while playing the entire first quarter, six in the second on a pair of three-pointers, six in the third and four in the fourth despite the running second-half clock after scoring 17 points last week.
He was 2 for 6 from three-point range, an effort that included an airball on a forced shot. He frequently found his way into the paint, even while matched against Georgia State product Jeff Thomas.
When his game was complete, Muhammad stuck around long after, even watching the third game of the afternoon that featured no players with direct ties to Ohio State.
Jallow leaves early with apparent injury
Both Jallow and Woods finished with six points for Bexley Car Care in a thrilling, 97-95 loss against a Team V squad that only had five players.
Reflecting the week of conditioning, Jallow’s jumper continuously fell short. The junior forward missed his first four shots, then scored on a strong drive to the basket before forcing a deep three-pointer that drew only air. His other two field goals came on dunks, one of which came on a monster, one-handed jam as he cut through the lane.
But roughly midway through the fourth quarter, Jallow was cutting through the key when he was knocked forward while chasing down a rebound. As he fell on his chest, his right arm pinned out to the side, an opponent fell on him, causing his shoulder to bend at an awkward angle as the opponent’s full weight landed on the joint.
Jallow checked out of the game a moment later and did not return, massaging the area with his left hand but not receiving any medical treatment.
Woods, meanwhile, was making his league debut and spoke with The Dispatch afterward for an update on his situation. Check BuckeyeXtra.com in the coming days for more.
Liddell impresses again
Last week, in his league debut, the freshman forward took top billing with 27 points. This week, in a complete mismatch of a game that featured a late running clock and a 108-73 win for team Be Greater, Liddell’s jumper wasn’t falling but his impact was still impressive.
The freshman finished with 15 points, going 6 for 15 from the floor overall, and added 8 rebounds and 2 blocks. He was 2 for 5 from three-point range and 1 for 2 from the free-throw line while scoring most of his points off of dunks.
Many of Liddell’s jumpers fell short, likely owing to tired legs, but it didn’t prevent him from soaring through the air to throw down a powerful dunk off an off-the-backboard pass that got the crowd roaring. In spite of the fatigue, Liddell played the entire first quarter and checked out for good with six minutes remaining in the fourth.