Jared Sullinger: “I Don’t Have to Rely on Athleticism”

Since I’m out at the U.S. Open, our Jimmy Durkin held down the fort at the Warriors’ workouts Thursday. Here is Ohio State big man Jared Sullinger keeping it real about his lack of athleticism.

What do you need to show teams?

“Just I can play. Pretty much just show them that I can play with length, play against length. Just show them that I’m a basketball player.”

Would you fit in with the Warriors?

“Any place I feel like I can fit in because it’s the NBA. You want to get to that spot so you’ve just got to find your niche. But the Warriors have two veteran bigs in David Lee and Andrew Bogut. I’d love to pick their mind and learn how to play in the post in the NBA.”

Do you hear the whispers about your athletic ability?

“I hear it all the time. I was hearing it when I was in college, I was hearing it in high school, I was hearing it in middle school. I could care less. I’m just one of those type of guys that’s never going to be athletic. Athleticism does not bother me. I don’t need it to be good. You’ve just got to find other ways by being fundamental, find other ways to score. Maybe it’s up fakes, making moves off contact. There’s just other ways you can score.

Everybody’s not going to be athletic. I’m just one of those guys that’s never going to be athletic. I’ve learned to accept it. I just wish everybody else would.”

Do you have a hard time hearing that?

“I have no hard time with it, I just think it’s funny. Everybody’s like ‘I can’t score, I’m not athletic enough to play in the NBA.’ You look at Kevin Love, he’s not that athletic. You look at Zach Randolph, he’s not that athletic. It doesn’t matter. If you can score in the post, you can score in the post. It doesn’t matter if you’re athletic or not.

If you want to draft somebody that’s stupid athletic and is able to touch the top of the backboard but has no skills or is just raw with talent, by any means take that. I just accept the fact that I’m a below the rim player and I find other ways to score. I know the game. I don’t have to rely on athleticism. I use my basketball IQ to play this basketball game.”

Have you always been like that?

“Growing up I was always a step slow in everything in basketball. So I just learned the game. There were certain rebounds I couldn’t go for at an early age. If it was me looking at the defensive play ahead of time or me just finding other ways to score, I just learned the basketball game at an early age. Being a son of a coach, you listen to everything he says. Even though at the time you don’t want to listen, but you’re hearing everything he’s saying to you and you just kind of pay attention later on in life.”

What did the extra year at Ohio State do for you?

“I got experience. I learned how to be a leader. I got myself in better shape. I learned how to handle losing. To me I feel like we failed because we lost nine game this year and I’m not used to losing that many games in a season. I just learned how to cope with losing. And with the experience of learning how to be a leader and all that stuff, helped me out big time.”

Marcus Thompson

  • Matt Effin Cain

    I really like Sully. Not sure if him having one leg longer than the other is going to be a problem. Some people have said that that’ll lead to health problems in the long term.

    And Sully’s right….drafting guys on pure athleticism blows up in a team’s face. A lot.

  • rotfogel

    Yes to Sullinger. Draft him, he’ll be good. Bank on it , rebounds really well and has a very good offensive game already AND he’s a big dude…Please don’t tell us you (warriors GM) really like him just like you did Greg Monroe only to ‘Trick’ everyone and then take a horrible player in Epic DooDoo.

  • moderate voter

    Larry Bird wasn’t very athletic, I recall that, but he had knack for game, he turned out to be a pretty good NBA player, hall-of-famer in fact. The whole thing is to put ball in round hoop, Sulinger doesn’t have a problem with that, 60% shooter, he can also rebound. I think Sullinger isn’t getting credit he deserves, I think he will make some GM’s look bad. The kid can flaty out play.

  • pass

    Pass on him. I feel like if they draft this guy they should have just kept winning and gave the pick to Utah.
    Why not Lillard or Leonard at 7? Yes even if its too high.

  • Scott

    David Lee plays a ton of minutes and sullinger can’t spell bogut so I don’t see how you draft him when GS is locked into lee for many years. Sullinger is likely fine, but is the team better by having him play 10 mins a game. Think if we can’t trade the pick need to add 3 if wr like one or a guy who can play minutes at 5 and 4.

  • Niners in 2012

    Sullinger is one of the safer picks. People bring up Diogu but that is so off. Unlike Ike, Sully has been a top prospect coming out of high school, went to college and was an first team all-american, the guy can play no doubt.

  • jai

    “I’ll never be athletic” That statement right there sounds like a loser. You see, I disagree with that statement. Sullinger could go work out with Tim Grover, lose 20lbs, and gain new found explosiveness. But if he doesn’t believe it could happen, it won’t. The Warriors are losers trying to be winners. No thanks on drafting Sully. It will be interesting who the Logo tells the Warriors to draft. I heard that West likes Terrence Jones. We’ll see

  • arrows

    Epke Udoh is a horrible player? You’re trippin dude.

    Questionable pick? Undoubtedly, but he’s a serious presence in the paint. When he got some real PT (at center, playing out of position) he proved he could score too. He can’t rebound for sh!t, but the dude changes shots like nobodies business. He actually started to develop some nice low post moves before we traded him. Im really not sure who you were watching…

  • Young

    Safe = Good for warriors. All there “potential” picks have gone bad. We haven’t “developed” a raw player since beans and even he reverted back…

    So many great talents to be had later with same probability for success as the Jones…

    Possible draft night:
    #7: Sully (Ohio State)
    #30: Jeffery Taylor (Vanderbilt)
    #35: Marquis Teague (Kentucky)

    Im too excited! But I wouldnt hate Myers if he went for Damian Lillard or Bradley Beal at 7, probably the best 2 players available. We’ll need to make trades to get a “championship” roster. Why not collect assets…

  • Young

    Go Warriors!

  • Harp’s Dubs

    David Lee, Dorell Wright and Jeremy Tyler for Chris Bosh.
    Jefferson and the #7 pick for Igoudala.
    Use the #30 pick for a guy like Festus Ezeli from Vandy. Use the next pick for Kevin Jones from WVU or local kid Drew Gordon from New Mexico, via UCLA. Use our last pick on a Euro we can keep stashed for a few years.
    Re-sign Rush and McGuire.
    Sign a vet PG to one-year contract (bring CJ Watson back?)
    Pray for Curry and Bogut’s health.
    PG – Curry, Watson, Jenkins
    SG – Thompson, Rush
    SF – Igoudala, McGuire
    PF – Bosh, Jones/Gordon, Chris Wright
    C – Bogut, Ezeli, Biedrins
    A front line of Iggy, Bosh and Bogut would be SICK!!!

  • dknight007

    Ugh. Sullinger would be another terrible pick by the Warriors. If they pick him ahead of Barnes, Jones 3 and T Jones…Warrior management and the fans will be paying for that mistake 2-3 years down the road. Ooff..

  • dknight007

    Bradley Beal woulld be a great pick for W’s if he falls to 7…but he won’t.

  • dknight007

    Jeffrey Taylor would be a great pick for W’s at #30…but he will be gone by then unfortunately.

  • Jai

    “I’m just one of those type of guys that’s never going to be athletic”

    To me that is a loser statement. That statement doesn’t have to be true. Sullinger could get the right trainer, lose 20 pounds, and gain new found explosiveness. But if he doesn’t believe it, he’ll keep being below the rim Sully. He just seems too content that he will always be the player that he is. Not good for a team like The Warriors, who are perennial losers trying to be winners. Terrence Jones sacrificed several facets of his skill set to win a championship. That is the kind of mentality that the Warriors need. Personally, if the Warriors want a PF in the 6’8-6’9 range like Sullinger, I would rather they draft Royce White. He is athletic, explosive, and productive. Plus, he’s a smart player just like Sullinger. Google his interview at the combine and compare it with this one. Note: At the combine, Terrence Jones was the only player who could guard him in the post,including long armed John Henson

  • Stan

    Whats with the Heats logo?..uuuuuglyyy. What is it? Some kind of squid?..A Basketball run over by a semi?..a used condom with halo?

  • manhattanproj

    problem is: is he the 2nd coming of Ike Diogu?

    or kevin love minus the outside shot?

  • AP

    No way miami would do that trade… No way philly would do that trade.

  • I believe Sully doesn’t provide enough upside. Still like Perry Jones III & his upside or a trade up. Don’t think the Bobcats will accept anything the W’s have to relinquish Kidd-Gilchrist.

    I’m beginning to think the route is to go for a guard & see what shakes out with Curry. Can always make a trade around the deadline next year for, perhaps Grainger or Gay. . .but I think Indiana & Memphis will want to move on those possibilities before the next regular season. . .

  • Keep dreaming dude! Bosh really no way miami is that dumb. WTF are you smoking? We take the best available player period and if a trade arises we look at it and go from there. Warriors are way better already and should be a playoff team the more talent we have the better possible trades may turn up. Go warriors!

  • randyc415

    Sully will balloon over 300 lbs and he has a structural back issue found by the Dr’s at the combine. Stay away from this pick Warriors! Trade your 2nd round picks and move up!