Did Jared Sullinger stay too long? Is Trey Burke leaving too early?
Jared Sullinger stayed at Ohio State one year longer than most expected him to stay. But did he stay too long?
But did he stay too long?
That's a question people will inevitably ask now that Sullinger is officially in the 2012 NBA Draft after a season that raised more questions than it provided answers about his ability at the next level. He's still an undersized (and kinda heavy) power forward. His field goal percentage went down from his freshman year to his sophomore year. He battled a bad back. And he struggled with Jeff Withey's length in OSU's 64-62 loss to Kansas in the Final Four, which almost certainly cost him to some degree in the minds of NBA scouts.
So Sullinger's stock has slipped.
That's probably an undeniable statement.
But I can't sit here and tell you that Sullinger stayed in college too long because I can't put a value on spending another year as the big man on campus any more than I can put a value on being a preseason and postseason All-American or going to a Final Four. Yes, Sullinger likely cost himself money in the short term because he probably won't be drafted in 2012 where he would've been drafted in 2011, and by staying at OSU he also lost a year of earning capability. But I'm confident Sullinger and his family understood these risks last April when the decision was made to remain at Ohio State. So while it might not have been the decision I would've made or the decision I would've advised my son to make, I am not, at the age of 35, interested in criticizing the decisions other educated parents make -- especially when Sullinger is still gonna be a millionaire very soon.
It's not like he's undraftable now.
He'll still be a first-round pick.
And his high school teammate, Trey Burke , might just join him.
My colleague Jeff Goodman reported Wednesday that Burke will forgo his final three years of eligibility at Michigan after a suprisingly spectacular freshman season, at which point Burke's father tweeted the following: "Trey Burke has not declared for the NBA draft. He is still enrolled at the University of Michigan."
This is what those of us in the business call semantics.
We at CBSSports.com have no doubt that Burke has not formally declared for the NBA Draft and that he's still enrolled at the University of Michigan, but Goodman's sources insist Burke will formally declare before the April 29 deadline, meaning the Wolverines will drop when we update the Ridiculously Early Preseason Top 25 (and one). It also means Burke might've learned a lesson from Sullinger.
Burke, unlike Sullinger, doesn't seem interested in delaying a paycheck to try to lead his school to a Final Four. His stock is high in a weak draft for point guards, so he's going now. Consequently, he won't be over-scouted as a sophomore like Sullinger was over-scouted as a sophomore, and so two Columbus natives who attended different Big Ten universities will both be rich soon.
They took different approaches to entering the NBA Draft.
I don't know who's right and who's wrong.
But I can't blame either of them.
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