Thursday, October 27, 2011

BUCKEYES, SULLINGER VOTED BY MEDIA AS TOPS IN THE BIG TEN

Jared Sullinger
(Updated) PARK RIDGE, Ill. — Ohio State was voted by the media Thursday as the Big Ten's top men's basketball team, while sophomore forward Jared Sullinger was named the conference's Preseason Player of the Year.

The defending conference champions were selected as the team ahead of Wisconsin and Michigan State. Ohio State finished 34-3 last season, winning both the Big Ten regular season and conference tournament championships, and made it to the regional semifinals of the NCAA tournament where they were upset by Kentucky, 62-60.

Sullinger, the Buckeyes' leader in scoring (17.2) and rebounds (10.2) as a freshman last season, was named the conference's top player. Last season's National Freshman of the Year and Associated Press first-team all-American was joined on the Preseason all-Big Ten team by Michigan State's Draymond Green, Minnesota's Trevor Mbakwe, Purdue's Robbie Hummel and Wisconsin's Jordan Taylor.

"Obviously Jared Sullinger is a great player," Purdue head coach Matt Painter said Thursday. "He has a lot of physical tools. But, to go along with that, I think what makes him special is his understanding of the game. And when he gets the ball in the post, you know, he's a threat to score at all times with his physical strength and skill level, but he's also got a high basketball IQ."

Painter even provided a scouting report on how to stop Sullinger.

"Prayer," Painter said. "That's the only thing I would say. Good solid prayer."

Sullinger has already been named to the Wooden Award Preseason Top 50 list.