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Jared Sullinger is getting in “top overall pick” shape

Jul 9, 2011, 8:11 PM EST

Kentucky v Ohio State Getty Images

Jared Sullinger would have had a great shot at being No.1 in this year’s draft had he departed Ohio State early. Instead, he elected to return to OSU, turning down the millions and opting to enter the league after the lockout, and also after the new CBA is agreed upon which will likely lower his rookie scale contract. Sullinger says that it’s all about wanting to “be a kid” and experience college. Forgive us if we’re skeptical, perhaps Sullinger really is the exception to the rule. But it’s hard to imagine the financial realities of the lockout didn’t influence his decision. Then again, it still would have been more profitable for him to come out early, so maybe the kid’s being honest. Maybe he really did just want to spend another year slinging a backpack and tossing Frisbees. (We’re pretty sure Sullinger isn’t the Frisbee-tossing-type, but it seems more timely than referencing a Hacky-Sack.)

Either way, a report from the Northern Ohio Morning Journal who spoke with Sullinger gives some light on what he’s looking to do before he does make the leap next year.

He said he’s lost between 10 and 15 pounds since last season. He said he’s been boxing, running stadium stairs and hitting the weights. He said he has seven more weeks of conditioning.

“I’m able to move better,” Sullinger said. “I’m working on my face-up game and my handle. You’ll see more of that.”

via Sullinger has no regrets about returning to OSU – morningjournal.com.

Now that’s all talk, but it’s still good to hear. One of the best things Sullinger has going for himself is his perceived level of maturity. The decision to return to school reinforces that. The decision to work to shed some weight does even more for that. Bigs who can show up lean if they’re not huge are at a premium. You don’t want to have to work on losing weight off the kid before you start adding it with weight training.  Sullinger is making all the right moves.

He’ll still be facing one of the most loaded draft classes in recent memory with a slew of freshmen who will challenge for the top spot. But Sullinger’s overall resume, combined with the traditional “always take the big man” and his work in improving his face-up game to play a true power forward coming in could pay off huge. Either way, barring injury, Sullinger looks to go top five next year easy, and have a good chance at the top spot.

  1. zblott - Jul 9, 2011 at 10:04 PM

    A look at how loaded next year’s draft is:

    http://www.behindthebasket.com/btb/2011/6/15/were-about-to-have-a-great-draft-in-2012.html

  2. 1historian - Jul 10, 2011 at 9:11 AM

    I have heard that the NBA lockout is going to get really ugly and there is a possibility that the whole upcoming season will be lost. If such were to occur how would next year’s draft be conducted?

    • zblott - Jul 10, 2011 at 1:16 PM

      Hopefully in a similar way to what the NHL did it in 2005 since it makes some sense (for the first round at least – not so much the snaking of the 2nd round) and won’t require the reinvention of the wheel:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2005_NHL_Entry_Draft

    • cosanostra71 - Jul 10, 2011 at 2:26 PM

      probably in inverse order of record- so Minny would have the 1st pick, Cleveland 2nd, etc.

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