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Jared Sullinger to leave Ohio State for NBA Draft

Cody Cousino / Photo editor

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Jared Sullinger is heading for the NBA.

Sullinger announced Wednesday that he plans to forego his final two seasons of collegiate eligibility and enter the NBA Draft during a press conference at the Schottenstein Center.

“I sat down with my family and we pretty much came up with the decision and I think it’s best for me to try to go at it at the next level,” Sullinger said. “And also, I wouldn’t do anything to hurt this program or any of the guys that’s a part of this program. I just thought it was best for me to (go pro).”

OSU coach Thad Matta said it was time for Sullinger to head to the NBA.

“I’ve always said he’s one of the most intellectual players I’ve ever coached,” Matta said. “The timing is definitely right.”

The announcement comes just four days after OSU’s NCAA Tournament run ended with a 64-62 Final Four loss to Kansas Saturday at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans.

After the loss, Sullinger said he had not made a decision on his NBA future and did not set a timetable for announcing the decision.

ESPN.com writer Chad Ford lists Sullinger as the No. 10 player on his ranking of the top 100 collegiate prospects. The player could become the seventh first-round NBA draft choice produced by OSU coach Thad Matta.

During his two seasons in scarlet and gray, Sullinger started 73 of the 74 games he played, the now-former sophomore forward scored 1,282 points, hauled in 717 rebounds and tallied 59 blocks while also dishing out 89 assists.

The Buckeyes won 65 games during his two seasons at OSU, earning the team the No. 1-overall seed and a No. 2 seed in the 2011 and 2012 NCAA Tournaments, respectively.

OSU also claimed the outright 2011 Big Ten regular season championship, the 2011 Big Ten Tournament Championship and a share of the 2012 Big Ten regular season title.

Sullinger received Associated Press First-Team All-American honors in consecutive seasons at the Schottenstein Center. Sullinger also racked up the 2011 Big Ten Freshman of the Year, as well as selections to the 2011 and 2012 Big Ten All-Tournament team.

OSU sophomore forward Deshaun Thomas, who is suspected by some to be considering an NBA future as well, also would not set a timetable for the future of his basketball career after the Buckeyes’ loss to the Jayhawks.

From his Twitter account, @DT1UpNComin, Thomas tweeted Wednesday at about 1:20 p.m.: “Got time.”  

Matta said he is in the process of gathering information from NBA teams to help Thomas make the best decision.

Stay tuned to The Lantern for more.

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