Wednesday, October 19, 2011


Jared Sullinger
COLUMBUS — Four Ohio State men's basketball players were named to the CBS Sports 2011-12 preseason Top 100 list, including sophomore forward Jared Sullinger who was selected as the nation's best.

The 6-foot-9 all-American big man was rated No. 1 overall by a panel of basketball writers, taking top billing over the likes of North Carolina's Harrison Barnes and Wisconsin's Jordan Taylor.

"Sullinger is big and strong and the nation's best player, which is why he's ranked where he's ranked," said CBS Sports college basketball columnist Gary Parrish.

Sullinger, who was an Associated Press first-team all-American selection as a freshman, has returned to the hardwood this season some 20 pounds lighter and should improve on his 17.2 points and 10.2 rebounds per game average from a year ago.

Senior guard William Buford (14.4 ppg.) was rated as the 18th best player in the nation, while his back-court mate, sophomore point guard Aaron Craft (6.9 ppg, 4.8 apg.), appeared at No. 25 overall.

"This could be the year Buford truly breaks out; one of the top wing scorers in the Big Ten," said CBS Sports college basketball insider Jeff Borzello.

Borzello continued with an assessment of Craft ... "One of the best on-ball defenders in the country, Craft will look to build on his solid frosh campaign."

Sophomore Deshaun Thomas (7.5 ppg., 3.5 rpg.) also made the list, rated 73rd overall by the panel.

"Instant offense," CBS Sports college basketball columnist Jeff Goodman said of Thomas. "Has the size and can really score the ball, especially from deep."

Sullinger, Craft and Buford were also named to the Wooden Award preseason Top 50 list earlier this week by the Los Angeles Athletic Club.

The Buckeyes will open the 2011-12 season on Sunday, Nov. 6 at Value City Arena against Walsh.