I mentioned Monday that it was essentially an afterthought that Evan Turner would be walking away with virtually all player of the year statuettes in the next several weeks. Now the question becomes will Ohio State's all everything wunderrecruit Jared Sullinger be able to match E.T.'s feat? Sullinger is nominated for both the McDonald's All-America Player of the Year honor as well as the Naismith Award for outstanding high school player in the country.
The Dispatch's Bob Baptist (BOOM) raised a fairly thought provoking question yesterday afternoon as well, could we be seeing the first instance of one (albeit high school level) player of the year replacing another? The McDonald's award has but 13 years of history, where as the Naismith only goes back 23 years. Regardless of which barometer you used to outline the situation, the fact remains the same: never before has one institution replaced a collegiate national player of the year with a high school version. Now we don't want to jump to conclusions or anything; Sully's competition includes all-everything Brandon Knight (who's being recruited by essentially every "it" program in college hoops for his one year of service) who's the defending national player of the year for the McDonald's award. The two couldn't be more different as players, so at this point the vote shakedown could really only logically come down to the personal preferences of the respective voters..
The positive buzz surrounding Sullinger can't certainly hurt his case, as the little brother of former Buckeyes starter J.J. will be entering Columbus as the most decorated non-football athlete to make his way to campus since a certain Mr. Oden. For those wondering what the younger Sully will bring to the table, DraftExpress and a few other notable scouting services compare Sullinger at this point in his development to the later stages of a few other notable big men who could also step out 12-18 feet and stroke one, including former Maryland Terrapin national champion role player Lonny Baxter, former all-SEC forward/Alabama alum Richard Hendrix, and more notably/contemporarily Kevin Love of UCLA/the NBA's Timberwolves. Sullinger's court IQ from the few nationally televised apparences I've had a chance to check him out in was the most notable part of the game. Unlike many 18-year old big men entering the college game, his already developed mid-range jumper coupled with an uncanny, natural feel for what was happening around him at all times could amount to truly Villanous point totals at an early stage in his career in the scarlet & grey. To add a visual to the gushing praise, check it out after the jump:
The silky smooth touch coupled with a natural eye for making things happen should make this kid an absolute joy to follow for however long we're all lucky to watch him dunk all over hapless opponents in Value City Arena. If that wasn't enough to gush over, the kid knows what would bring college hoops in C-Bus to a never before seen fever pitch. Having a little politician in a young, budding superstar never hurt anyone. The kid's also off to an interesting start in the twittersphere, after slipping this out earlier this afternoon (which has since been deleted) and could very well be a clue to some possible inside information as to how he'll fair in the aforementioned national player of the year sweepstakes:
Wow good news good news... Can't wait till Wednesday u knw what im on @MrOH1O and @Jules_Sully
@MrOH10 and @Jules_Sully representing older siblings former Buckeye J.J. and former Kent State Golden Flash Julian Sullinger respectively, who certainly would be in a privileged position to a know a thing or two about their kid brother. It should be interesting to see if perhaps the younger Sullinger let a gem slip that could bring the program Thad Matta's turned from a long time second class citizen on campus to something on the up and up a unique first of its kind, with a national player of the year up Matta's sleeve just in case the one already in town decides to take his skills to their next logical destination.