St. Vincent-St. Mary, Ohio State star Malaki Branham to visit Cavs; E.J. Liddell also set

Marla Ridenour, Adam Jardy
Beacon Journal, Columbus Dispatch
Malaki Branham, from Ohio State, talks with reporters during the NBA basketball draft combine at the Wintrust Arena Thursday, May 19, 2022, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

Depending on how the NBA Draft falls, Malaki Branham may get a chance to stay home.

The St. Vincent-St. Mary High School star named Mr. Basketball in 2021, Ohio State’s Branham has a pre-draft workout scheduled with the Cavaliers on Wednesday, a league source told the Beacon Journal.

Branham will visit the Washington Wizards on Friday, sources told the Columbus Dispatch. The Wizards hold the 10th overall pick.

Ohio State junior forward E.J. Liddell is flying to Cleveland Monday for a Tuesday workout, sources told the Dispatch. Liddell is known to have also recently worked out with Golden State, Minnesota, Denver and Chicago.

Turning pro after one season at OSU, Branham is rising up draft boards and might not be available when the Cavs pick at No. 14 on June 23. A 6-foot-5, 195-pound guard/forward with a 6-10 wingspan, Branham has the size, shooting consistency, maturity and character to fit the Cavs’ needs.

June 23 Draft: No lottery luck: Cleveland Cavaliers remain 14th in 2022 NBA draft; Orlando Magic No. 1

A look at Branham's career:Through the years with Malaki Branham

The Cavs’ top offseason priority is help on the wing, and Branham, who turned 19 last month, could develop into the type of scorer they seek at the 3. Branham came on strong in his final 22 games at Ohio State, averaging 17 points per game and scoring 20 or more in eight of those.

A Columbus native, Branham averaged 13.7 points, 3.6 rebounds, 2.0 assists and shot .498 from the field and .416 from 3-point range in 29.6 minutes of 32 games (31 starts). He became the Buckeyes’ first one-and-done player since D’Angelo Russell in 2015.

Ohio State's Malaki Branham (22) tries to get the ball past Villanova's Caleb Daniels (14) during the first half of a college basketball game in the second round of the NCAA tournament, Sunday, March 20, 2022, in Pittsburgh. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)

The Cavs also own the 39th and 56th picks and are getting a look at Liddell, although they may have to trade up to land him.

A consensus All-America, Liddell turned in his best season in 2021-22, averaging 19.4 points, 7.9 rebounds, 2.6 blocks and 2.5 assists per game. According to OSU, he became the third player in the last 30 years to average those numbers over a full season, joining Jason Thompson of Rider and Tim Duncan of Wake Forest, who played 19 seasons for the San Antonio Spurs and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2020.

In his three-year career, Liddell averaged 14.1 points, 6.1 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.6 blocked shots.

Some mock drafts have two-time first-team All-Big Ten selection Liddell, 6-5½ and 243 pounds, going late in the first round. 

Ohio State Buckeyes forward E.J. Liddell (32) hugs guard Malaki Branham (22) following the NCAA men's basketball game against the Michigan State Spartans at Value City Arena in Columbus on March 3, 2022. Ohio State won 80-69.

Michigan State Spartans At Ohio State Buckeyes

Get more Ohio State news by listening to our podcasts