Jared Sullinger Boston bound following NBA draft
Published: Wednesday, June 27, 2012
Updated: Thursday, June 28, 2012 22:06
Despite concerns about the former Ohio State big man's back, Jared Sullinger was drafted 21st overall by the Boston Celtics in Thursday’s NBA Draft.
Once considered a guaranteed lottery pick, Sullinger’s draft stock fell after NBA doctors medically red-flagged him after examining his back. Despite that setback, Sullinger will have a chance to continue his career at the Celtics' home court, TD Garden, where OSU dispatched Cincinnati and Syracuse on its way to the Final Four this past season.
OSU coach Thad Matta lauded Sullinger in an athletic department release, saying Boston is getting a quality individual.
“Boston will be getting a... tremendous basketball player,” Matta said in the release. “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.”
Sullinger is the seventh player from OSU to be drafted in the first round since Matta took over the program in 2005.
A back injury during Sullinger’s sophomore season with the Buckeyes caused him to miss two games in December including a high-profile matchup against Kansas.
According to an ESPN.com report, several NBA team doctors advised their teams not to draft Sullinger in the first round.
Sullinger’s father, Satch Sullinger, told ESPN that he didn’t think the issue with his son’s back is serious.
“He had a bulging area that was due to his hamstring and quads being so tight. It pulled on his hip flexor and he's been taking care of it to loosen it. You can call it a red flag if you want. But it's tight hamstring and tight quads,” Satch Sullinger said. “He's been to doctors, he's doing yoga and deep tissue massage. The flexibility is helping take the pressure off the area.”
Even with the concerns, the Celtics made Sullinger their first round selection Thursday.
The Celtics went 39-27 during the 2011-12 NBA season and advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals in the NBA playoffs this past season.
Sullinger will hope to give the Celtics more strength inside.
A Columbus native out of Northland High School, Sullinger came to OSU as a highly decorated recruit.
Sullinger led OSU to the Final Four this past season and was named a first-team All-American for the second time in his two-year Buckeye career.
He also was the 2010-11 Big Ten and National Freshman of the Year and a two-time All-Big Ten selection.
Sullinger was 64-10 in his career at OSU and finished with 1,282 points and 717 rebounds.