Sullinger Selected by Boston in NBA First Round
June 28, 2012
COLUMBUS, Ohio - Jared Sullinger's two years at Ohio State culminated when his name was called with the 21st overall pick by the Boston Celtics in the first round of the 2012 National Basketball Association Draft Thursday at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J. Sullinger is the eighth Buckeye coached by Thad Matta, head coach at Ohio State, selected in the annual professional draft.
As a sophomore, Sullinger averaged a team-leading 17.5 points and 9.2 rebounds for the Buckeyes. He averaged a double-double as a freshman with 17.2 points and 10.2 rebounds, numbers that also led his teammates.
Over his two years under Matta's direction, Sullinger started 73 of 74 games in which he appeared, making 53 percent of his shots from the field (450-849) and 73 percent at the foul line (363-495). The Columbus, Ohio, native blocked 59 shots and recorded 80 steals while scoring 1,282 (17.3 ppg.) career points and grabbing 717 rebounds (9.7 rpg.). Sullinger's rebounding average ranks No. 8 all-time in Ohio State history.
Matta said the Celtics are getting a quality addition to their roster and their community.
"Boston will be getting a quality person and a tremendous basketball player," Matta said. "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."
Michael Redd, another Columbus native who played for the Buckeyes from 1998-2000, said Sullinger has the ability and intelligence to prosper at the professional level.
"The young man is skilled," Redd said. "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."
Seven of the eight Ohio State student-athletes selected in the NBA draft since Matta took over the program (2005-present) were taken in the draft's first round and there has been at least one in each of the last seven draft classes.
The last first-round selection was Evan Turner, selected in the opening round by the Philadelphia 76ers with the second overall pick in 2010. He followed in the footsteps of Greg Oden, Mike Conley Jr., and Daequan Cook, all freshmen from Ohio State's 2007 NCAA runner-up squad, who were taken in the opening round of the 2007 NBA Draft. Freshmen centers Kosta Koufos (2008) and B.J. Mullens (2009) also were first-round selections.
Portland, with the first overall pick in 2007, selected Oden. He was the first Buckeye selected with the opening pick. Conley went to the Memphis Grizzlies with the No. 4 pick and Cook was selected by Philadelphia with the 21st pick of the opening round. Koufos was taken by the Utah Jazz with the 23rd pick in 2008 while Mullens went originally to the Dallas Mavericks with the 24th pick in 2009. He was then traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder on draft night.
Jon Diebler was taken in the second round of the 2011 draft.
Since 1947, 49 Ohio State basketball players have been drafted by NBA teams, including 23 first round selections.
Sullinger joins Turner, Mullens, Koufos, Conley, Cook and Michael Redd as former Buckeyes currently active in the NBA. Redd earned a gold medal for the United States on the men's senior national team in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. He also was elected to the Ohio State Athletics Hall of Fame and was inducted in 2009.
Ohio State made its 24th appearance in the NCAA tournament last season, advancing to the program's 10th Final Four. The Buckeyes finished tied for first with a 13-5 record in Big Ten regular-season play and advanced to the title game of the conference tournament. With 31 overall victories (31-8), the eighth-consecutive season with 20 or more wins, Matta recorded his 12th-consecutive year with 20-plus wins as a collegiate head coach.
Ohio State has won or shared the Big Ten regular season title in each of the last three years. Ohio State owns the conference record with five-consecutive titles from 1960-64.
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