No one is happier to see former Buckeye star Jared Sullinger back on the court for the Boston Celtics than Jared Sullinger. After a hot start to his rookie season, in which he proved he was worthy of the lottery pick he didn’t receive, Sullinger was sidelined in January. Monday night’s preseason opener was a fresh start Sullinger badly needed.
Sullinger endeared himself to Buckeye fans in his three seasons in Colombus via his hard work and gritty style of play. Sullinger earned All-American honors in both seasons after averaging 17 ppg and 10 rpg his freshman season and 17 ppg and 9 rpg his sophomore season. In his freshman year, the Buckeyes reached the Sweet Sixteen on Sullingers back after a 32-2 regular season record. The next year, OSU fans watched as the combination of Sullinger and DeShaun Thomas steamrolled teams en route to a Final Four appearance.
After a lingering back injury cost him the second part of his rookie season, Sullinger had a turbulent summer. Rather than focusing on getting back in shape and regaining his form, Sullinger spent too much time this summer in court. On August 31st, Sullinger was accused by his girlfriend in claims that she was pinned down and threatened by the 270-pound forward. Although she dropped the charges and has said she isn’t afraid of Sullinger, prosecutors want to pursue the charges for assault and battery, witness intimidation, and destruction of property.
With the charges out of mind for the present time being, Sullinger has returned all his focus to basketball. His current 270-pound frame is 15 pounds heavier than what he would like to be at. He mentioned that he wasn’t as well conditioned as he would like to be also, but made sure that Celtics fans know that he will be prepared for the team’s opener at the end of the month. In his twenty minutes of action against the Raptors, Sully finished with 14 points, 6 rebounds (game-high for the C’s), and 4 assists. He played well with new additions Gerald Wallace and Kelly Olynyk, as his team best plus-9 plus-minus rating shows. All five of his field goals came around the basket. Despite his time off, Sullinger hasn’t lost any of his mental edge and isn’t going to let the back injury slow him down one bit, best exemplified by the charge he took from Tyler Hansborough.
After a summer of huge change in the Celtics organization, Sullinger will be looked at as one of the few bright spots and reliable players in every game. Stay tuned to scarletandgame.com for everything Jared Sullinger and other Buckeye alumni.