Profiling #4 Ohio State’s Phenomenal Freshmen Class: More than Jared Sullinger


jared sullinger

After his dominating performance at #11 Florida yesterday, there’s been a lot of buzz about Buckeyes big man frosh Jared Sullinger, not to be confused with his older brother J.J. Sullinger who also played for tOSU.

And neither is to be confused with J.D. Salinger, author of “Catcher in the Rye,” although I have made that mistake on occasion. As big as this year’s Ohio St. freshman class is, next year’s will be giant as well.

Thad Matta, head coach of fourth-ranked Ohio State, added a fifth member to the 2011 class of recruits with the submission of an NCAA National Letter of Intent Wednesday by Amir Williams, a 6-foot-10 inch, 220-pound center from Birmingham, Mich. Williams’ addition to the class strengthens a group of high school seniors already rated by analysts as a Top 10 class nationally.

So when Sullinger‘s one-and-done there will be plenty of reinforcements.But what about this year? How good are the Bucks rookies? At Big Ten Media Day I sat down with OSU senior center Dallas Lauderdale to discuss the freshest batch of players.

dallas lauderdale

Last year I was lucky enough to cover every weekend of March Madness. Ohio State was placed in three of the four regionals I covered. I saw them dominate the Big Ten Tournament. I was also fortunate to see National Player of the Year Evan Turner quite a bit, but I didn’t get to see an entire class like this.

Here’s the skinny on the fab four frosh, with some help from their teammate.

Jared Sullinger 6-9, 280 pound big man, the #1 recruit in the nation, and a big reason why this is the #1 rated class.  He’s a tour de force inside but also agile and graceful. You saw what he did at #11 Florida. Sullinger could very well be the next Elton Brand.

Lauderdale on Sullinger: “The class is obviously headed up by him, he’s coming in and doing what he’s needs to do and playing well. I’m showing him the ropes on how to be physical in the Big Ten. It’s a physical league and you’re not going to get every call and he’s not going to get every call that he thinks he should get because this isn’t high school and touch fouls aren’t going to matter anymore.”

DeShaun Thomas David Kay on Thomas: “DeShaun Thomas is a gifted 6-6 player who has an inside/outside game that gives Matta options.  Expect to see him play a lot of four with either Sullinger or Lauderdale at the five since the Buckeyes lack a lot of depth up-front besides seldom used Nikola Kecman.”

Lauderdale on Thomas: “another McDonald’s All-American, a great scorer.”

J.D. Weatherspoon originally committed to Xavier, but de-committed when Sean Miller left for Arizona. He’s a high-flyer, but does need some work, especially with his perimeter game.

Lauderdale on Weatherspoon: “He can jump out of the gym and he knows he can jump out of the gym, he’s very gifted, very blessed.”

Aaron Craft The Buckeyes lacked a true point last year, and they replicate that problem this year. Enter Craft who’s a great distributing guard, and could step into a starting role if he shows the ability to feed the studs around him.

Lauderdale: “He does everything on the court. That’s an honest statement. He plays hard and does it all offensively and defensively.”

Jordan Sibert Here’s the highlight reel of the 6-4 guard from Cincinnati.

Lauderdale: “reminds me of Will (current wing William Buford) the way he plays, very smooth, very athletic.”

In giving his ultra-comprehensive forecast of the top 99 teams in college basketball, David Kay had this to say about the Buckeyes:

The Ewing Theory will be put to the test this season in Columbus.  The Ohio State Buckeyes lose National Player of the Year, “His Royal Smoothness” Evan Turner but could actually be a better team without him.

And even though it’s extremely early, his predictions seem right. If tOSU keeps playing like this, they may end up being more of a legitimate national title contender than their college football team. Who knew?

“My freshman year, coming here people said why are you going to a football school? But as you can see Coach Matta has done a good job turning the program around and Ohio State is a basketball school as well,” Lauderdale said.

Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports , a Midwest webzine. He’s also a regular contributor to the Tribune’s Chicago Now network, Walter, Yardbarker Network, and Fox

You can follow him on Twitter @thesportsbank


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