Ohio State’s season ended in disappointing fashion in 2011, as they watch Brandon Knight hit his second game-winner of the NCAA Tournament to send the Wildcats on to the Elite 8 and, eventually, the Final Four with a 62-60 win.
Sullinger — who had 21 points and 16 boards but also committed four turnovers and allowed Josh Harrellson to go for 17 points and 10 boards, a performance that may have earned him a spot in the second round of the NBA Draft — took the loss particularly hard. The story, as we had originally heard it, was that Sullinger’s decision to immediately announce he was returning to school was a result of that loss. In order to avoid the potential to be labeled “out of condition” next season, Sullinger dedicated himself to losing some weight during the offseason.
He cut out fried foods and reduced his portion sizes. He spent time on the treadmill and doing conditioning workouts. He wanted to make sure that his conditioning could not be used as an excuse if his team fails to realize their goal of winning a national title this season.
And it worked. Sullinger cut the excess baby fat, streamlined his body and sent the blog world — and The Lantern’s personals section — into a tizzy as he tweeted out pictures of his progress during the summer. Sullinger made himself a new body.
It wasn’t the only new item that was required after the Buckeye’s loss to Kentucky, however:
After the loss to Kentucky, Sullinger let loose. “A couple broken walls,” he told the Columbus Dispatch the next month. “A couple broken doors. But it’s all good. I put it all behind me.”
He wasn’t joking. He really broke a friend’s door.
“I was just frustrated,” he says. “That’s how I handle my frustration, just by being really aggressive. It was great therapy because as soon as I did that, I kind of snapped back and forgot about it.”
Can you imagine being the guy that had his door knocked down by Sullinger? One minute you’re trying to procrastinate and put off writing a paper by reading Ballin’ is a Habit and the next you have a slightly insane, 280 lb grizzly bear breaking down your door. That’s the way I see it in my head, anyway.
Regardless of how it actually played out, the bottom line is that Sullinger is in terrific shape. He still has that monstrous frame and enormous hindquarters, but without those 20 pounds of baby fat, Sullinger is going to be quicker up and down the court and more explosive finishing around the rim.
Good luck, B1G.