Hoping Jared Sullinger has ONE long run through CBB’s post-season

So is Jared Sullinger playing in his first Big Ten Tournament tomorrow at noon against the winner of Northwestern / Minnesota or his only one?  As a Buckeye fan I hope it’s his first, and as a Cavs’ fan I hope it’s his only.

I’m much more of a Cavs fan by the way.  And after hearing that Perry Jones has been ruled ineligible by the Big 12 for their tourney which started – and ended for his Baylor squad - yesterday, I think it’s much more important for the Cavs that Sully does make this Big Ten Tournament his last. 

A quick dot connection for those who are wondering what one has to do with the other: 

* Chances are good that Perry Jones will declare for the Association after being held out of the Big 12 Tourney last night. If you’re ineligible, go pro, duh.
* I would also imagine that with one of the Cavaliers two lottery picks they will select a post player.
* Given that, the Cavs would be selecting a big from a group headlined by Sully and Jones who are both at worst considered top-5 picks at the moment.
* I think Jared Sullinger will be a better pro than Perry Jones because he works harder, is tougher, and the ”athleticism gap” is not “that much” in the favor of Jones.

It definitely has nothing to do with why Jones was ruled ineligible for Baylor’s loss to Oklahoma last night either.  That was ridiculous, and his suspension should serve as the latest punchline in the ongoing joke that is the NCAA.  Feel for the kid and Baylor on that one. 

On the court though, I haven’t been wowed by the freakish athleticism everyone’s talking about, and I’m certainly not impressed with Jones’ production:  14 points and 7 rebounds, for this super-athletic 6’11″ guy, playing at Baylor? 

Which brings me back to Sully.  I’m not letting any bias cloud my judgement here, I just think Jared Sullinger is a safe pick with legit upside.  His ceiling may not be 24-14 every night, but to me he bottoms out no worse than as a 15 and 10 guy in the NBA.  So I hope Sullinger makes himself an option.

Only thing is, while I’ve talked to his brother JJ Sullinger twice this season and came away with the impression that Jared would make the leap, Thad Matta talks to Jared everyday and doesn’t think he will.

Said Matta on Wednesday when asked if he thinks Jared Sullinger will return for his sophomore season:

“I think he will come back. I’m hoping and I think Jared knows he has some work to do now. When the season ends we can look at all his options but he’s one of those kids that enjoy college and he knows talking with our former players that are in the NBA what it’s all about at the next level. It’s a different world. I definitely have always been this way with guys, I want wants best for them so whatever that is we’ll point them in the right direction.”

Getting back to Perry Jones, Hoopsworld had the following from a couple NBA scouts.  First on the bogus suspension:

“It shouldn’t affect his draft stock,” said one league source. “This doesn’t affect his potential and that’s what everyone cares about at this level. Teams will want answers before investing millions of dollars in him, but this isn’t enough to scare teams away.”

The second is a scout who said exactly what’s gone through my head each time I’ve seen him play:

“People call him the best athlete in this class, but I’ve come away disappointed each time I’ve seen him play,” said the scout. “Its one thing to question the holes in his game, but his athleticism is supposedly his biggest strength. I don’t know if he’s not playing to his full potential or what, but I haven’t seen the athlete that people rave about. He’s extremely hard to peg. If he truly is the best athlete in this class, then this is a very weak class in terms of athletic players.”

Anyways, the way Jared and The OSU Buckeyes play this post-season will go a long way towards answering this very question.  Here’s hoping for as deep a run possible, both as a Buckeye fan and a Cavs fan too.

To get you ready for the tourney, after the jump is a OSU Buckeyes Stat Primer provided by Dave Wooley (@dwooley81)…

Ohio State Basketball Stats of Note:

 

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When the Buckeyes take the court on Friday, David Lighty will tie Deon Thompson of North Carolina for the NCAA record for most games played in a career with 152. Barring a major upset, Lighty should break the record the following day. Jon Diebler needs 6 more three pointers to move into the top-25 in NCAA History for three pointers made in a career. Currently Diebler is the Ohio State and Big Ten record holder with 355 three pointers made in his career. William Buford needs 66 points to become the 12th Buckeye to record two or more 500 point seasons.

The list of the 11 players who have accomplished this feat in their Buckeye career is as follows:

Jerry Lucas (1960, 1961, 1962)
Michael Redd (1998, 1999, 2000)
Gary Bradds (1963, 1964)
Dave Sorenson (1969, 1970)
Allan Hornyak (1971, 1973)
Herb Williams (1979, 1980)
Tony Campbell (1983, 1984)
Dennis Hopson (1986, 1987)
Jay Burson (1988, 1989)
Jimmy Jackson (1991, 1992)
Evan Turner (2009, 2010)

Jon Diebler, David Lighty and William Buford all rank in the top-25 in Career Points at Ohio State:

Player Years Points

12. Terence Dials 2002-06 1,566
13. Gary Bradds 1962-64 1,530
14. Tony Campbell 1981-84 1,529
15. Evan Turner 2008-10 1,517
16. Troy Taylor 1982-85 1,497
17. Jerry Francis 1986-89 1,486
18. Jon Diebler 2008-11 1,449
19. Bill Hosket 1966-68 1,441
20. Paul Ebert 1952-54 1,436
21. Larry Bolden 1974-77 1,408
22. David Lighty 2007-11 1,393
23. Brian Brown 1999-02 1,384
24. Brent Darby 2000-03 1,368
25. William Buford 2009-11 1,338

Jared Sullinger currently has 536 points this season. He needs 128 to move into the top 10 in school history. He also has 302 rebounds this year, and needs only 34 to move into the top 5 in school history.

Aaron Craft has 64 steals this year and needs 10 more steals to move into 2nd place and needs 23 more to tie Mike Conley Jr. for the school single season record.

David Lighty has 188 career steals which is good for 2ndplace in school history. He is 16 steals behind Jay Burson’s school record.

William Buford currently has 142 three pointers made in his career, good for 8th place in school history. He is 11 three pointers made from moving into 3rd place in school history.

As they stand right now, Jon Diebler and William Buford sit one and two in single season three point percentage in school history (minimum of 50 three pointers made). Diebler is shooting 51.1 % and Buford is shooting 45.5%.

Jon Diebler has 95 three pointers made this season. That is good for 4th place in school history. Diebler holds the 1st and 3rd spots as well, making 116 in 2010 and 96 in 2009. Second place currently belongs to Jamar Butler with 104 in 2008.

Thad Matta has been the Head Coach for the three Ohio State teams with the most victories: 35 wins in 2006-07, 29 wins and counting in 2010-11 and 29 wins in 2009-10.

Ohio State has played in the Big Ten Tournament Championship game in 6 of the 14 years the tournament has been played. They are 3-3 in those games, winning the championship in 2002, 2007 and 2010. (Note: the 2002 Championship has been vacated by the Buckeyes due to the ineligibility of Boban Savovic).

Ohio State won their 4th Big Ten Championship in Thad Matta’s 7 years. Overall Ohio State has now won 19 Big Ten Championships (they had their 2000 and 2002 Championships vacated due to the ineligibility Boban Savovic).

Brendan Bowers

About Brendan Bowers

I am the founding editor of StepienRules.com. I am also a content strategist and social media manager with Electronic Merchant Systems in Cleveland. My work has been published in SLAM Magazine, KICKS Magazine, The Locker Room Magazine, Cleveland.com, BleacherReport.com, InsideFacebook.com and elsewhere. I've also written a lot of articles that have been published here.

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