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Big Smooth Ready for Bright Lights @ Jordan Brand Classic

Posted on 14. Apr, 2010 by Joel Steiner in High School, nba-draft

COLUMBUS, OH — The Jordan Brand Classic All-American game is becoming a new annual right of passage for the top senior high school basketball players in the country. Since 2002 the game has introduced players such as Lebron James, Dwight Howard and Kevin Durant to the country. This year will be no exception as Ohio State signee Jared Sullinger from Northland High School in Columbus, OH headlines the post players selected to the game. 

Sullinger is a silky smooth 6-foot-9 power forward known for his physical play and endless motor. His game has drawn comparisons to current NBA players Kevin Love and Paul Millsap, and if he were to leave after his Freshman season at Ohio State, Sullinger is a projected first round pick in the 2011 NBA Draft. When Sullinger was asked about his game and style of play he said, “It depends on what type of player I am going up against. If I am playing against a bigger defender I like to use my face up game but against a smaller or slender defender I will use the back to the basket game.”

The Sullinger family is a basketball family. Jared’s father, Satch, coached all three of his sons during their high school careers. The oldest brother J.J. was a key cog in Ohio State’s 2006 Big Ten Championship squad. Middle brother Julian had a quality four-year career at Kent State. As the youngest brother, Jared was pushed by his brothers on the basketball court. When he wanted to stop playing because the games were too rough his father and mother never allowed him to quit. This type of atmosphere growing up is one reason he plays with a motor that never stops.

When asked about playing for his father Jared said he felt lucky and the game of basketball brought him and his father closer together. Even though the coach is your father it can be tough, as Jared explained, “He watched me close and made an example out of me on the court. So that would be tough sometimes.” A good example of his father keeping Jared in line is during his sophomore season. During the state tournament Satch found out Jared was not living up to the family’s standard of school work and was benched. Quality influences from his family has been important in his life and has shaped him into a quality individual anybody would want on their team.

No more evident was the family influence then when his eldest brother J.J. who helped guide him to Ohio State. After Ohio State’s exit to Georgetown in the 2006 NCAA Tournament the brothers met after the game. A brotherly hug was exchanged as J.J. told Jared “if Ohio State offers you take it.” The eighth grader took his brother’s advice and is now the centerpiece of a recruiting class that includes NBA prospect and Jordan Brand Classic All-American Deshaun Thomas, gritty point guard Aaron Craft, high school teammate J.D. Weatherspoon, long range shooter Jordan Sibert and underrated combo guard Lenzelle Smith.

Sullinger will head to Ohio State this summer to begin classes and get an early start on his college basketball career. His plans include improvement with his strength and conditioning by working with Dave Richardson at Ohio State and on the basketball court he will continue to work out with AAU coach Benji Burke. Another advantage Sullinger’s development will have is the summer open gyms held at Ohio State. Last summer’s games were ultra competitive with Greg Oden, Mike Conley Jr., Evan Turner and other current Buckeyes headlining the cast of players. Thad Matta has started a family and the players love being around Columbus and this will only make the program stronger in the long run.

Ohio State likely returns four starters next year to go along with its solid recruiting class. About what he is looking forward to next year with college basketball Jared said, “College basketball is one of the most cherished things you can have in your basketball career. I get to go through March Madness and the conference tournament.” Look for Sullinger to make an immediate impact next year as he will be surrounded with current sharp shooters Jon Diebler, William Buford and Dave Lighty.

Next year scouts will keep a close eye on Sullinger as he will need to exhibit range from 15-20 foot consistently along with keeping his weight in check. Expect Sullinger to be a double-double machine for the Buckeyes but don’t expect him to be the latest Thad Matta one and done player. Sullinger exhibits a love for the college game and for Ohio State that could keep him their longer-term.

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