After an All-American freshman season at Ohio State, Jared Sullinger had a chance to enter the NBA and become a lottery pick.
He passed, instead returning to school for a chance to become National Player of the Year and win a National Title.
And while that was great for college hoops fans that wanted to see Sully in Columbus another season, it wasn’t exactly the best decision for the player. You see, Sullinger had a relatively disappointing sophomore campaign, and while a number of the causes were outside of his control — he didn’t have the same kind of supporting cast without Jon Diebler and David Lighty and he never appeared to fully heal from an injury early in the season — it doesn’t change the fact that the big fella fell down draft boards throughout the year.
The biggest blow came earlier this month when someone leaked the news that Sullinger had problem with his back and his hamstrings.
As a result, Sullinger’s draft stock has gotten to the point that he reportedly has not been invited to the Green Room at the draft, where players expected to be pick in the top 10 to 15 spots wait to be selected. There is still a chance that he gets taken earlier is a team is enamored with him, but recent history isn’t favorable. Darrell Arthur fell all the way to 27th in the 2008 draft as a result of questions about a potential kidney ailment. A year later, DeJuan Blair — a guy that many use as a comparison for Sullinger at the next level — fell to the second round because of he didn’t have any ACLs in his knees.
This is why players leave school early. If Sullinger was the fifth pick last season, his contract would have guaranteed him almost $9 million over the first three years of his deal. In contrast, last year’s 25th pick won’t even average $1 million per season.
That’s a big difference.
Is the risk worth coming back for an extra season of college ball?
Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.
LOS ANGELES (AP) University of Southern California athletic director Pat Haden says he will retire on June 30.
USC President Max Nikias made the announcement Friday.
Haden has run the athletic department for 5 1/2 years, leading the Trojans through a multiyear stretch of NCAA sanctions against its vaunted football program. He created a large NCAA compliance program and improved graduation rates and grade point averages across the athletic department.
The former USC quarterback also received criticism for the football program’s relative underachievement and for his handling of coach Steve Sarkisian, who has sued the school over his termination last year.
Nikias says Haden’s department also raised over $400 million during his tenure.
Nikias says Haden will start a one-year job guiding the renovation of the Coliseum after he retires.
GAME OF THE NIGHT: Columbia at Yale, 5:00 p.m.
The two best teams in the Ivy League, with matching 4-0 league records, meet for the first time this season. The Lions were close to suffering their first loss last weekend, but an Alex Rosenberg jumper as time expired gave the Lions the win at reigning champion Harvard. Rosenberg’s one of four players averaging at least 12.2 points per game for Kyle Smith’s team, with senior guard Maodo Lo leading the way at 15.8 per contest.
They’ll face a Yale rotation led offensively by point guard Makai Mason (15.7 ppg, 4.1 apg), and the front court tandem of Justin Sears and Brandon Sherrod has been outstanding. The winner get a leg up in the Ivy race, with the rematch scheduled for March 5 in New York City (regular season finale).
THIS ONE’S GOOD TOO: Central Michigan at Akron, 8:00 p.m.
Two of the top teams in the Mid-American Conference meet at the JAR, as Akron looks to extend its win streak to six straight. The Zips’ balanced offensive attack has been led by forward Isaiah Johnson (12.5 ppg, 7.6 rpg), who currently leads the team in both scoring and rebounding. As for the visiting Chippewas, guards Braylon Rayson and Chris Fowler combine to average 32.7 points per game, with Fowler also responsible for a MAC-best 6.3 assists per contest. CMU’s had some struggles on the defensive glass in league play, ranking 11th in that category, but they’ve done a better job defensively than they did in non-conference play.
OTHER NOTABLE GAMES
- MAAC leader Monmouth is back in action, as they host a Fairfield team led by one of the conference’s best players in senior forward Marcus Gilbert. The Hawks have a deep lineup led by junior guard Justin Robinson, who at this point in time is the likely frontrunner for MAAC Player of the Year honors.
- Looking to catch Monmouth is Iona, which is a game behind the Hawks at 9-3. A.J. English and the Gaels visit Canisius in a matchup that should not lack for offense. Iona’s more inclined to run, but Canisius doesn’t lack scorers either with guard Malcolm McMillan leading four players averaging double figures.
- Given the fact that they’re 1-3 in Ivy League play, Harvard’s essentially in the spoiler role unless some chaos breaks out at the top end of the standings. The Crimson can help in that regard with a win at Princeton, with the Tigers (2-1) a game behind Columbia and Yale in the loss column. Princeton’s been the better offensive team this season, thanks in large part to junior forward Henry Caruso who leads the team in both scoring and rebounding.