Jared Sullinger's (Kevin) Love Connection

Ethan Sherwood StraussNBA Lead WriterApril 4, 2012

BOSTON, MA - MARCH 24:  Jared Sullinger #0 of the Ohio State Buckeyes celebrates after defeating the Syracuse Orange during the 2012 NCAA Men's Basketball East Regional Final at TD Garden on March 24, 2012 in Boston, Massachusetts.  (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Jim Rogash/Getty Images

Jared Sullinger declared for the draft today, and his stock may rise if people mistake the Ohio St. star for Kevin Love. After all, both put up roughly 17 points and 10 boards in college, and both trend towards undersized and chubby. Some would look at Sullinger and think another future NBA superstar lies within the trudging pudge (though yes, he's gotten slimmer).

Not so fast. While their stats are similar...

(Re-watches various recorded clips of both, struggles with difficult conclusion)

Okay, well I have to admit that UCLA Kevin Love is incredibly similar to Ohio State Jared Sullinger. I find the conclusion discomfiting as I did not expect much from Sullinger's NBA career. Last year, he recorded less than one block per game, which is almost always a death knell for frontcourt NBA prospects. But sophomore Sully is more athletic and disruptive, tallying 1.1 blocks and 1.2 steals per contest. 

But the tape does not lie. The Kevin Love of UCLA yore was not the bearded three-point assassin of an MVP candidate that we see today. He plodded around the rim, relying on guile much in the way Jared Sullinger outwits taller, faster opponents. 

There are a few differences between how these two performed as college stars. Love's game was more refined around the rim, he could use a vast array of hook shots to score from that range. Sullinger has a more basic approach. He seals off the defender by jutting his massive butt backwards, and simply whips around for the layup. If draped by defenders, JS simply pump-fakes until the smoke clears. This does not always work, Sullinger gets his shot redirected with frequency. 

No, they aren't completely the same, and Sullinger's similarities to Love do not guarantee that Sullinger will have Love's career. But Kevin Love's success should add quite a bit to Jared Sullinger's bank account this summer, and that isn't an entirely unreasonable occurrence.