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Jared Sullinger won’t be available in 2011 draft, will return to Ohio State

Mar 26, 2011, 1:00 PM EDT

Kentucky v Ohio State Getty Images

Derrick Williams should be hearing cash register sounds in his head right about now.

The 2011 NBA Draft is not slated to be terrific. It’s a weak class to begin with, shallow, with no “locks” at the top. Throw in the effect of a potential lockout on the process and you’re looking at a draft no one is particularly excited about. Granted, drafts can look one way in March and entirely different in December as players outperform expectations. The 2009 class wasn’t thought of very highly but a surprising number of first round picks from that class are starters and rising stars. But if this year’s draft was considered light on star power before Friday night, it just plummeted even more.

Jared Sullinger is coming back to Ohio State.

After the Buckeyes’ gut-wrenching loss to the Kentucky Wildcats, Sullinger told reporters he was absolutely returning next season for his sophomore season;

“I’m going to be an Ohio State Buckeye next year,” he said. “This isn’t why I came here, to come in here and see my seniors in here crying. I came here to win a national championship.”

Plenty of people make pledges in the rubble of an emotional loss only to change their mind later, when the sting and suddenness of the season fades and the promise of the NBA looms.

Sullinger, who had 21 points and 16 rebounds in his final game of the season, insists that won’t happen.

“I’m a man of my word,” Sullinger said. “I don’t change my word and no one changes it for me. This is what I want.”

via Jared Sullinger vows he will return to Ohio State – ESPN.

The comments are consistent with what Sullinger has said consistently throughout the season, so there’s no reason to doubt him, despite many previous one-and-done players committing to their team after a tournament exit only to depart when the financial realities set in. It’s entirely possible the same happens with Sullinger, but his comments have been pretty strong to the point you have to believe him.

With Sullinger out, Arizona’s Derrick Williams becomes the surefire top big in the draft, if he hadn’t already obtained that with his perimeter barrage and terrifying posterizations against Duke Thursday night. Buckeye fans get another year of Sullinger and NBA fans will have to wait while continuing to be concerned about the quality of the upcoming draft for teams who need stars now.


  1. zblott - Mar 26, 2011 at 3:39 PM

    This is a shame for all the crappy clubs entering this year’s shallow draft. Here’s a look at two likely lottery selections, one of whom is underrated and one of whom is overrated:

  2. reptar18 - Mar 26, 2011 at 9:46 PM

    Thank God. Now I don’t have to worry about the Wolves taking him.

    • andyhr17 - Mar 28, 2011 at 6:37 AM

      Oh, don’t worry. Your Wolves will draft someone far worse.

  3. purdueman - Mar 27, 2011 at 5:24 AM

    Conclusive proof that you can be a dumb and still play for an academically regarded school like THE Ohio State. Obviously this kid hasn’t taken (much less passed), his first economics class yet. If he had, he wouldn’t be leaving $1M or more on the table (capped due to the NBA slotting agreement with the PA), and (far more importantly), getting his FA service time clock ticking a year early by coming out now.

    Somebody needs to talk some sense into the boy! Big 10 player of the year Johnson from Purdue pulled out of the draft at the last minute last year and went from being a sure fired bottom of the 1st round pick to a likely an out of the money completely undrafted player this season after his putrid performance in the NCAA tourney this year. Who’s to say that this kid won’t suffer the same fate or get injured by staying on another year at OSU?

  4. andyhr17 - Mar 28, 2011 at 6:13 AM

    This is exactly what’s wrong with the college game: People criticizing kids for actually wanting to stay at school for more than one year. Damn that selfish a-hole! What’s wrong with him?? Doesn’t he know that he’s going to be an NBA player! He should be more greedy! Take the pile of cash NOW!

    Kudos to Sullinger for being a great talent that is not a one-and-done player in college. Hopefully this happens more!

    • purdueman - Mar 28, 2011 at 12:24 PM

      andy… I too initially hated the new “one and done” thing for top hi skoolers who due to a change in the NBACBA are now forced to either spend at least one year in college or Europe (as Rubio chose to do), before being eligible for the draft, but a couple of things have since changed my mind:

      1) From everything I’ve read, the “one and done” guys only have to pass 12 general ed units in their first semester in order to remain eligible for their second semester, when many of them just drop out after the NCAA tournament.

      I’m sure that there are some tough classes in the four though that they are required to pass too… like The History of Prostitution, Bowling 101, Basket Weaving and one toughie like How Slavery Came to the US, but generally it’s a total farce and a real slap in the face to the actual students who attend those universities; and

      2) Because guys have now caught on that their NBA stock likely will go up and benefit from the additional exposure if they go to a “big name program/coach”, teams like Duke and Kansas now barely even need to recruit anymore; I suspect that they may even get to cherry pick the Mc Donalds top hi skool senior 25 list before it’s even announced. After all, most of these kids don’t give a damn about getting an education, so it really doesn’t matter to them what the schools curriculum are or even where they are located.

      I propose that there are two ways to fix the above problem:

      1) Immediately reduce the number of full scholarships by one for mens basketball. That would help level the playing field much like the reduction in scholarships has done in NCAA football (which has kicked open the door for schools like Boise State, TCU and others to actually compete for an NCAA title).

      Don’t you find it refreshing to see a VCU-Butler Final 4 matchup this year? Take even one cherry picked top prospect away from Coach K. and Bill Self and make them earn their money! Bobby Knight didn’t win because he was able to constantly cherry pick off the top hi skoolers; he won because he could flat out coach and get his kids to way overachieve, oh and graduate too!; and

      2) Immediately implement graduated scholarships in basketball the same way as it’s currently done in most NCAA schools for swimming and diving. You play one year? 40% free ride. Two years? 60% free ride. 3 years? 80% free ride; and 4 years? 100% free ride, with the schools giving the athletes a zero percent interest loan for the difference that declines in principle each year that they stay.

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