11 Things Every Fan Should Know About EJ Liddell

EJ Liddell photo collage

Who is number 32 for Ohio State basketball? During the 2021-2022 men’s basketball season this was a common question asked by those not familiar with the former Buckeye star. In this article we’ll tell you everything you need to know or already know about the 2022 NBA Draft prospect EJ Liddell. To begin let’s answer a couple of questions.

1. What is EJ Liddell’s real name?

His full name is Eric Liddell, Jr. But he’s commonly referred to as EJ.

2. How old is EJ Liddell?

EJ Liddell is 21 years old and the son of two DI athletes. EJ Liddell’s parents both attended Illinois State.

3. EJ Liddell’s Parents

EJ Liddell’s dad was on the football team and his mother played volleyball. So it’s not far fetched that on December 18, 2000, Eric Liddell and Michelle (Rucker) Liddell gave birth to a future DI student athlete and collegiate basketball star.

4. EJ Liddell’s Siblings

Raised in Belleville, Illinois, EJ comes from a family of six. He has three siblings that he is very close with. Two sisters and one brother, EJ is the second oldest of the four children.

His oldest sister Erica has cerebral palsy and has competed in the Special Olympics. The event holds a place close to the hearts of the Liddell family. 

Liddell’s younger sister Myah and brother Myles are twins. Liddell’s brother Myles is a 6’ 2” 175 lbs sophomore that plays basketball and volleyball at Belleville West High school. Myles is attending the same high school that EJ attended.

5. Belleville West High School

At Belleville West High Liddell earned the Illinois Mr. Basketball crown twice. In his junior and senior years, Liddell led Belleville West High school to the Illinois State championship. Liddell was also named the metro area high school player of the decade by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Yet Liddell’s success didn’t stop there. This leads us to the next question. Where did EJ Liddell go to college?

6. EJ Liddell At Ohio State

EJ Liddell chose to attend Ohio State after being recruited from the likes of Missouri and Illinois. He majored in communications and played three seasons for the Buckeyes men’s basketball team. By the end of Liddell’s junior season his accomplishments on the hardwood surpassed many of the other players that came before him.

Liddell ranked 7th in Ohio State history for blocks. He tallied a total of 143 for his career. Liddell also racked up 1,298 points which places him 32nd in school history. To add to his resume of accomplishments Liddell earned All-Big Ten First Team and All-Big Ten Defensive Team honors for the 2021-2022 season.

But for all of his success it wasn’t always a smooth ride. There were some bumps in the road along the way.

Death threats, hate and racism

In 2021 after losing to Oral Roberts early in the NCAA tournament, Liddell received death threats on social media along with hate and racist messages from angry fans blaming him for the upset loss.

EJ Liddell and Illinois

In May 2021 there were concerns and rumors of Liddell transferring from Ohio State before the start of his Junior year. But his father Eric firmly denied a report of Liddell Jr entertaining discussions and considering a transfer to Illinois.

Fast forward to the 2021-2022 season. Liddell played the second game of his collegiate career in front of a Fighting Illini home crowd. Liddell was booed and received “traitor” and EJ sucks” chants as well as other inappropriate comments throughout the contest.

Liddell chalked it up to choosing the Buckeyes over his hometown Fighting Illini. He also used the opportunity to address the issue of athletes being subjected to inappropriate comments from rude fans that cross the line.

Liddell’s time at Ohio State wasn’t all sweet. But the death threats, hateful and racists comments, transfer rumors and reckless talk from inappropriate fans couldn’t derail his journey. Liddell carried that weight on his shoulders as he persevered on towards the NBA Draft Combine.

7. EJ Liddell Stats: 2021-2022 Season 


Key Statistical NCAA Rankings

  • Finished 14th in NCAA shot blocking (83)
  • Finished 17th in NCAA blocks per game
  • Finished 9th in NCAA Free throws made (169)
  • Finished 7th in NCAA Free throw attempts (221)
  • Finished 14th in NCAA PER (30.5)
  • Finished 8th in NCAA Box/Plus minus (11.8)

8. NBA Draft Status

Is EJ Liddell going pro?

Yes, EJ Liddell is going pro and more than likely going to the NBA. He hired an agent and will forgo his eligibility for his senior season. Liddell entered the 2022 NBA Draft. He’s also one of the 76 original players invited to attend the 2022 NBA Draft Combine.

Now that we know that EJ Liddell has committed to stay in the NBA Draft lets look at his measurements and see how he projects at the next level.

9. How tall is EJ Liddell? How he measured up at the NBA Draft Combine

At the 2022 NBA Draft Combine EJ Liddell measured up at 6’ 5.5” in height without shoes and 6’ 7” with shoes.

EJ Liddell’s other NBA Draft Combine measurements

243 LBS6′ 11.75″8′ 7.5″35.538

10. NBA Draft Projection

Is EJ Liddell a first-round pick?

EJ Liddell’s NBA draft projection for 2022 is forecasted as a mid to late first round pick. His decision to remove his name from the 2021 draft and return to Ohio State for his Junior season has appeared to help raise his draft stock.

Now that we know where he projects, let’s take a look at what Liddell brings to the table as a 2022 NBA Draft prospect.

11. Scouting Report

So what makes EJ Liddell a legitimate NBA Prospect? 

EJ has a strong motor combined with an NBA build and strength. Add defensive potential, offensive rebounding, and his ability to stretch the defense. These areas of Liddell’s game have the potential to translate into positive returns on a nightly basis at the next level. 

The potential to become a solid NBA defender

Liddell can make an impact in the NBA with defense. The 2021-2022 season revealed the Big Ten’s leading shot blocker’s potential to become a bona fide defensive presence at the next level. His impact will come in the form of blocking, contesting and disrupting shots, hustle, effort, energy plays, and defending the pick & roll. 

Liddell is a versatile and capable of guarding the two through five in pick & roll action. His ability to stay in front of guards and effectively double team will prove useful especially in pick & roll action. If ever beaten off the dribble after a switch Liddell possesses the chase down ability to block shots from behind (in the transition as well). 

In the post Liddell is not afraid to bang. He utilizes his strength and physique to body up against back down attempts. He fights for post position and gets into the post passing lanes for deflections or steals. But at the end of the day he’s still an undersized PF. Expect NBA bigs will often shoot over the top of Liddell in the post.

EJ Liddell defensive highlights

The ability to stretch the defense

Offensively Liddell does the majority of his offensive damage inside the 3pt line but also has the ability to step out and knock down the outside shot.

Liddell made big strides during his Junior year. He extended his shooting range. As his attempts increased each season his efficiency followed suit. The results are noticeable when compared to his first two seasons at Ohio State.

As a pick and pop option Liddell is a legitimate weapon that can bury a midrange jumper as well. Plus he’s more than just a catch and shoot guy. His handle maybe a bit shaky when attempting to create yet Liddell still has the ability to create his shot off the dribble…. One area of improvement is shooting when fatigued. His jumper tends to get flat when tired.

Offensive rebounding

Liddell has a solid standing vertical and knack for being in the right place at the right time. During the process of averaging 2.3 offensive rebounds for the 2021-2022 season Liddell showed that he embraces doing dirty work. His hustle, energy and efforts result in clean up field goal attempts, extra reset possessions and tap outs when securing the possession is out of his reach.

What else does Liddell bring to the table? 

Close range offense, turnover prone and a defensive rebounding disadvantage. Some areas of Liddell’s game will translate into neutral or negative returns on a nightly basis in the NBA.

Turn over prone when attacking off the dribble

Liddell has the ability to put the ball on the floor to attack the basket. His first step is fairly quick. He has the ability to attack past closeout defenders, kick out to shooters and get into the paint. But…

Overall this area of his game has room for improvement. His handle is shaky at times. Plus Liddell is turnover prone especially when attacking to his left.

Disadvantaged defensive rebounder

On the defensive end Liddell possesses the rebounding fundamentals that contribute to winning basketball. He battles in an attempt to establish position and boxes out more often than not. You can expect him to grab hustle and effort boards. 

Also, the ability to advance with the dribble and find spot up shooters on the break is within him. This makes it’s easy to see why some believe Liddell is and underrated passer.

On the flip side, due to his height disadvantage you can expect him to lose defensive rebounding battles often to taller and stronger opponents at the NBA level. 

Close range offense

Seventy-one percent of Liddell’s field goal attempts and half of his scoring come from within the three point line. In addition to clean up work and knocking down mid range shots Liddell finishes plays around the basket and operates out of the post. 

Viable as a pick and roll option and a worthy target for guard penetration feeds. Liddell’s impressive standing vertical allows him to easily finish with one step after the catch.

Liddell’s post moves are limited and predictable at this stage of his career. His go to moves are a turn around fade away and a push floater. But his turn arounds are often executed more rigidly than smooth.

Taking advantage of smaller post defenders is an area where Liddell is effective. He’s strong off the back down. Plus he’s capable of finding shooters. 

Liddell does a decent job of creating space with his body to set up field goal attempts in the paint. Liddell favors finishing with his right even at times when it would be beneficial to use his left hand. Is he internally confident about finishing with his left?

How does Liddell project at the NBA level? 

Liddell projects as a solid role player that defends, brings energy, hustles, stretches the defense and does the dirty work. Liddell projects as an undersized power forward but he has good length to compete at the NBA level. You can also expect him to provide some minutes at the three or the five in small ball line-ups. 

Liddell Highlights 

Ej Liddell highlights

NBA Comparison

Liddell fits into the mold of the modern day NBA undersized power forward. His ability to defend and stretch the defense garner the comparisons of a mixture of Draymond Green, Grant Williams, PJ Tucker and PJ Washington. 

Role/how he can contribute at the next level:

  • Role Player
  • Power Forward
  • Small Ball Five
  • Provide some minutes at the three
  • Provide solid defense
  • Contest, disrupt and block shots
  • Stretch the defense
  • Dirty work


  • Good defender
  • Length
  • Shot contesting, disrupting and blocking
  • NBA physique
  • Gets to the line
  • Proficient free-throw shooter
  • Ability to stretch the defense
  • Motor: Plays hard, hustles, energy, effort
  • Offensive rebounding
  • Strength and Toughness

Areas for improvement/Weakness/Question Marks:

  • Undersized NBA PF 
  • Defensive rebounding
  • Turnover prone w/dribble: improve attacking left
  • Predictable post game

So who is number 32 for Ohio State Basketball?

EJ Liddell is a son, a brother, a two-time Illinois Mr. Basketball, a cherished Buckeye, a vocal adversary of disrespectful fans and a soon to be NBA draft pick. Many projections project as if they already have Liddell’s future figured out. But in reality only time can forecast with certainty who Liddell will become once he’s on the best basketball stage in the world.