Ohio State's Duane Washington Jr. earns NBA draft combine call-up
After spending three days at the NBA’s G League Elite Camp, Ohio State’s Duane Washington Jr. has earned a call-up to the NBA draft combine.
Washington, who just finished his junior season with the Buckeyes, and E.J. Liddell, who finished his second, have declared for the NBA draft while maintaining their collegiate eligibility. Both players were among the 40 selected for the G League camp, an invitation that came with the opportunity to be called into the NBA's full combine that runs through Sunday.
The call-up, which was first reported by DraftExpress.com, makes Washington one of four players to have played his way into the camp.
After scoring a game-high 18 points in Monday's second and final game of the G League camp, Washington earned a call-up while Liddell's status is unknown after going scoreless Monday.
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In the first day of games, which saw Liddell play against Washington, the latter emerged as the winner as Team Two beat Team One 80-74 on Sunday.
Off the bench, Washington finished with 13 points on 5-of-12 shooting including a 2-for-8 effort from three. He added two rebounds, two assists and three turnovers in 21:40 while finishing with an individual plus-minus of plus-20. Wearing No. 19, Washington played alongside former Michigan Wolverine Chaundee Brown.
Liddell started the game and played 21:21, finishing with five points on 2-of-5 shooting along with six rebounds. He was also 1 for 3 from three while finishing with a minus-6 rating. He played with Michigan's Hunter Dickinson and Mike Smith.
Monday saw the Buckeyes split into different games, and this time Washington started for Team Two in the first game of the doubleheader. He finished with a game-high 18 points, starting the game by hitting a pair of three-pointers, closing the first half with a drive and finish at the rim and a free throw with 2.8 seconds left to push what would be a 78-74 win against Team Three.
Primarily at shooting guard, Washington spent some time running the point. He was vocal throughout, encouraging his teammates and in an arena dotted only with NBA personnel could be clearly heard yelling out screens on the broadcast.
In the two games, Washington finished 12 for 25 from the field. He was 4 for 15 from three and, surprisingly, only 3 for 7 from the free-throw line.
The nightcap featured two former classmates and Buckeyes facing each other as Liddell’s Team One faced D.J. Carton’s Team Four. Both were members of Ohio State’s 2019 recruiting class and played most of the 2019-20 season together before Carton withdrew from the team to address mental health issues. He would transfer to Marquette during the offseason, where he played one season before declaring for the draft and hiring an agent.
“I want to get to that combine,” Liddell said during a taped interview. “I came here to show people what I can really do. I’m going to be locked in these three days and show that the main goal is the main goal.”
It was tougher going for Liddell than Washington on Monday. In a lopsided game that was ragged at both ends, he was scoreless in a 97-73 win. He did have a strong block on a Carton shot from near the rim during the fourth quarter.
After spending much of his two seasons at Ohio State in the paint, Liddell spent most of the game on the perimeter. If he returns to the Buckeyes, that figures to be his role this year.
According to the broadcast, which was streamed online at Twitch, somewhere between three and five players are likely to be selected for the NBA combine. As of Tuesday morning, Washington was one of three players to have been picked, according to DraftExpress.
Johnson, Key cut from Team USA camp
Ohio State’s Meechie Johnson Jr. and Zed Key have both been cut from Team USA’s U19 camp.
Johnson and Key, who are both entering their second seasons with the Buckeyes, were among 26 players invited to training camp to compete for 12 roster spots for the U19 World Cup that will be held July 3-11 in Latvia. The two Ohio State players were among nine players who were cut Monday night, leaving 17 players at the camp that is being held at Texas Christian University and coached by Horned Frogs coach Jamie Dixon, Stanford coach Jerod Haase and Yale coach James Jones.
Key played in all 31 games as a freshman, and the center averaged 5.2 points and 3.4 rebounds in 11.7 minutes per game. He will compete with Indiana transfer Joey Brunk for the starting spot this season.
Johnson graduated high school early and joined the Buckeyes in mid-December. He would play in 17 games, averaging 1.2 points and making 6 of 12 (50.0%) of his three-point attempts while averaging 5.9 minutes per appearance. He will compete with a host of players for the starting point guard spot.