COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Ohio State sophomore E.J. Liddell announced his intention to enter the 2021 NBA Draft while maintaining his college eligibility. Liddell led the Buckeyes in rebounds per game (6.7) and was second on the team in points per game (16.2) during the 2020-21 season.

Liddell gained national attention after Ohio State’s first round loss to Oral Roberts when he received several hate-filled messages, including death threats.

Liddell says athletes he’s heard from since going public have shared similar stories of harassment, but most do not want to appear “soft” for calling out that behavior. He says he wanted to bring the issue to light because no athlete deserves that treatment, win or lose.

Liddell played the third-most minutes of any Buckeye and was a force in the post competing against some of the best centers in the nation, including Iowa’s Luka Garza, Illinois’ Kofi Cockburn and Michigan’s Hunter Dickinson.

So far, the only Buckeye who will not be back in Columbus next season is junior Musa Jallow who entered the transfer portal Wednesday.

Last year, Kaleb Wesson made the same decision as Liddell entering his name in the NBA Draft after his junior year at Ohio State. The Westerville South grad was an undrafted free agent in 2020 and joined the Golden State Warriors’ G-League team.