Being a two time All-American and leading the Ohio State Buckeyes to the NCAA final four in 2012 isn’t going to help forward Jared Sullinger be a top 15 pick in the 2012 NBA Draft in a few days, as most of the top picking teams are afraid that his back issues will trouble him in his pro career.
Sullinger finished his two years with Ohio State averaging 17.3 points and averaging 9.7 rebounds per game. Two years which were practically identical in their production numbers were enough for the Ohio born player to decide its time to go pro. His 2012 tournament? 17 points and 8.8 rebounds per game. The man sticks to his numbers.
But after the Chicago pre-draft camp a few weeks ago, Sullinger was red flagged by a number of NBA teams considering picking him due to back issues. Some are concerned he has a disc problem. His father, Satch Sullinger, who also coached him in high school, and his agent, David Falk, are working hard behind the scenes, attempting to convince everyone that these are less severe muscle issues. Sullinger missed a game against Kansas last season due to Back spasms.
He wants the opportunity to play. He knows he’ll play in the NBA. All it does is give him motivation. This just keeps him hungry and he’ll earn it. It’s a business. He’s going to play in the NBA, whatever number he goes doesn’t matter. He’s going to be like a top five pick in the NBA.
Sullinger was invited to work out for several high-pick teams – The New Orleans Hornets (for their no.10 pick), Portland Trail Blazers (#11), Golden State Warriors (With the #7 and #30 picks) and the Toronto Raptors (#8). The Cavs also invited him, but the Sullinger crew doesn’t believe he’ll go as high as fourth in the Draft anyway.
Either way, the league talks to teams about who they are going to pick and sends invitations to players who are projected to go in the top 15. Sullinger wasn’t among the names discussed by the teams with the NBA’s executive vice president, Stu Jackson.
He’s more likely to go in the teens or in the 20s. We continue to have contact with teams but at this late date we don’t anticipate inviting him.
The Sullinger family isn’t anticipating getting a late invite, and probably weren’t according to the father. Instead, they’ll host a draft party at a restaurant in Columbus, Ohio.