Though Jared Sullinger did not meet the Ohio State men’s basketball team’s goal of winning a national championship, he certainly is raking in the individual accolades.
The freshman forward was named an Associated Press first-team All-American on Monday, and also won the Freshman of the Year award. This is the second consecutive season that OSU has had a player named to the team, with Evan Turner last season.
Sullinger averaged 17.2 points and 10.1 rebounds per game this season, leading the Buckeyes in both categories. He is the 24th OSU player to earn first-team All-American laurels.
But some of his impact could not be measured by his own numbers.
“Just how he affects the game without having the ball, and even when he does have the ball, he draws so much attention that he creates for all of us on the perimeter,” OSU guard Jon Diebler said after Sullinger was named the Big Ten Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player on March 13. “So when you have a guy like that, obviously it makes things easier for us on the perimeter because he’s such a force inside, and the one thing that I love about Jared is how he rebounds.”
Sullinger is the only freshman to earn the honor in a season highlighted by seniors. Seniors BYU guard Jimmer Fredette, Duke guard Nolan Smith and Purdue forward JaJuan Johnson, along with junior Connecticut guard Kemba Walker, join Sullinger as All-Americans.
Sullinger, who remains one of four finalists for the Naismith Award, given to college basketball’s best player, has vowed to return to OSU for his sophomore season.