Sullinger Lands Softly in Boston after Falling Out of Lottery
By Patrick Maks
After two seasons at Ohio State, big man Jared Sullinger was selected with the 21st overall pick by the Boston Celtics in the 2012 NBA Draft Thursday night.
Photo by Jim Davidson
Sullinger, who was the 2010-11 Big Ten Freshman of the Year and a back-to-back first team All-American and All-Big Ten selection, is the first Buckeye to be selected in the opening round since Evan Turner was selected by the Philadelphia 76ers with the second overall pick in 2010.
He may have fallen out of the lottery, but Sullinger is going to fit in well with the winning culture Doc Rivers and his players have created in Boston, OSU head coach Thad Matta believes.
“Boston will be getting a quality person and a tremendous basketball player,” Matta said in a statement.
“Jared was an integral part of our success the last two years and I suspect he will be equally successful in the years to come. This is a day the Sullinger family has been looking forward to for many years. I know they are proud of Jared’s accomplishments and will be avid supporters throughout his professional career.”
Former OSU and NBA star Michael Redd also sees Sullinger as a kid who will have a tremendous amount of success at the next level, especially going to Boston.
“The young man is skilled,” Redd said Thursday.
“His basketball IQ is off the charts. He has got to work and put the time in but I can see him having a long career in the NBA.”
The former OSU star joins Turner, Byron Mullens, Kosta Koufos, Mike Conley, Daequan Cook and Redd as former Buckeyes currently active in the NBA. He will join a cast of NBA stars in Boston if Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen resign to join Paul Pierce and Rajon Rando on the Celtics.
Boston, who lost to the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Finals, finished the 2011-12 season 39-27.
Sullinger was originally projected to be a lottery pick but his stock plummeted after NBA team doctors medically red-flagged him, citing a back issue that could potentially limit his professional career.
His father, Satch Sullinger, told ESPN that his son’s back was a non-issue.
“He had a bulging area that was due to his hamstring and quads being so tight. It pulled on his hip flexor and he's been taking care of it to loosen it. You can call it a red flag if you want. But it's tight hamstring and tight quads,” Satch Sullinger told ESPN.
“He's been to doctors, he's doing yoga and deep tissue massage. The flexibility is helping take the pressure off the area.”
Still, NBA executive vice president Stu Jackson told ESPN that Sullinger would not be invited to the green room in Newark's Prudential Center after league reports indicated that the Sullinger wouldn't even be selected in the top 15—which proved to be accurate Thursday night.
A native of Columbus, Sullinger was a highly-touted recruit out of Northland High School before coming to Ohio State. He averaged a double-double as a freshman with 17.2 points and 10.2 rebounds before averaging 17.5 points and 9.2 rebounds in his sophomore year.
In his second and final season at OSU, Sullinger helped carry OSU to the Final Four before falling to Kansas, 64-62 in New Orleans.
In Boston, Sullinger will be reunited with former Big Ten Player of the Year JaJuan Johnson, and fellow Purdue teammates E’Twaun Moore. Both were selected by the Celtics in the 2011 NBA Draft.
Related Story: Sullinger ‘Ready to Win’ in Boston -
By Brandon Castel