Less than a year ago, we were talking about Jared Sullinger as a potential lottery pick in the NBA draft. In fact, many were surprised when he chose to return to Ohio State for his sophomore season, believing that the power forward would have likely be a top-five pick. In what seems like the blink of an eye, Sullinger has gone from top prospect to not valued highly enough for a spot in the green room.
According to ESPN.com, NBA executive vice president Stu Jackson said the league has decided to not invite Sullinger to the draft based on reports that he will not be selected within the first 15 picks. Jackson said at the moment “he is more likely to go in the teens or 20s.” This news, of course, comes only a week after a number of NBA team doctors told their front office workers that back issues will likely shorten Sullinger’s career.
Jared’s father and high school coach, Satch Sullinger, confirmed that the family has not been invited and will instead watch the draft from a restaurant in Columbus. He did, however, add that New Orleans, Portland, Golden State, Detroit and Toronto have hosted the former Buckeye for workouts — all of which have a pick in the top 15.
“I know we haven’t been invited and so we’re not going to go,” Satch Sullinger said. “Unless (Pistons GM) Joe Dumars said they like him at No. 9, we’re not going to go.
“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.”
If Sullinger’s injury issues are being overblown, he could be a steal for a team like the Celtics who are reportedly interested and picking later in the first round. We know the talent is there somewhere. The question is whether or not his back issues prevent Sullinger from using it.
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