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Liddell’s NBA Draft wait turns to motivation with Pelicans


“It’s not about where you begin; it’s about where you finish. And I’ve all the time began at the underside, so it’s nothing latest— nothing latest in any respect,” Liddell said

BELLEVILLE, Unwell. — From the moment he touched the court at Belleville West High School, it was easy to see E.J. Liddell had something special about him.

“The primary time he played at Belleville West as a freshman, I believe he had like 20 points and 14 or 15 rebounds in a summer league game, and I walked out of there… (considering) this kid’s special,” former Belleville West head coach and current athletic director Joe Muniz said.

“Special” turned out to be putting it frivolously.

Liddell became top-of-the-line highschool players in Illinois history, winning two state titles and taking the crown of “Illinois Mr. Basketball”, twice.

His highschool teammates still remember those days fondly.

“Well, I hooped loads at Belleville West… Just carrying this guy (E.J.) to 2 state championships and now he’s about to go and get drafted. It’s an unbelievable feeling. It’s like I’ve put my kid right there and now he’s about to do big things,” Liddell’s highschool teammate, lifelong friend and current University of Illinois football lineman Keith Randolph joked at Liddell’s draft party.

The success continued at Ohio State, where in three years Liddell was named to the All-Big Ten First Team, twice.

On Thursday night, Liddell’s family and friends gathered in his hometown of Belleville to observe him grow to be an NBA player.

However the picks kept coming, and Liddell didn’t hear his name. Projected as a first-round pick coming into the night, Liddell had to attend all the way in which until pick 41. That is where the Recent Orleans Pelicans decided to meet Liddell’s dream.

There it’s.

Belleville’s E.J. Liddell is headed to Recent Orleans. pic.twitter.com/1vaQ68uVG2

— Corey Miller (@corey_miller5) June 24, 2022

And he’ll be taking that draft day wait to Recent Orleans as motivation to prove himself again.

“I’ve been proving people improper my whole entire life. So this isn’t anything latest. It’s like I said, I’ve been proving people improper my whole entire life, and I’m gonna keep doing that until that day I’m gone. I’m glad they took a probability on me, and I appreciate the chance,” Liddell said Thursday night.

And everybody who showed up to attend by Liddell’s side on Thursday night can be right there with him for the subsequent a part of his basketball journey, too.

“Words cannot express how proud I’m of him. I just don’t know express it. I’m so pleased for him and I do know he’s gonna do his best as he’s worked so hard to get so far,” Liddell’s grandmother Caroline Liddell said.

“It’s why you bet on a child like this. Because he got higher every 12 months. He’s gonna recover every 12 months he’s an NBA player. He’s only going to proceed to grow as a player due to who he’s as an individual,” Ohio State head coach Chris Holtmann said.

“In case you guys knew just how hard he really worked behind closed doors. He deserves every little bit of this. I’m so pleased for him and what’s about to return for him,” Randolph said.

Now, with the wait finally over, the work begins again. And Liddell is fired up to point out what this kid from Belleville is able to.

“It’s not about where you begin it’s about where you finish. And I’ve all the time began at the underside so it’s nothing latest. Nothing latest in any respect,” Liddell said.

“I just know I’m gonna go into Recent Orleans and work my ass off.”

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