Jared Sullinger on NBA Career: 'I Was Still a Kid, and I Really F--ked It Up'

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistJuly 23, 2018

Toronto Raptors center Jared Sullinger (0) is trailed by Boston Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas (4) and forward Jae Crowder during the first quarter of an NBA basketball game in Boston, Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2017. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)
Charles Krupa/Associated Press

Despite averaging double figures in three of his five NBA seasons, Jared Sullinger flamed out of the Association at age 25.

After a year out of the league, Sullinger said he knows his work ethic was at fault.

"I wasn't an NBA basketball player when I left the gym," Sullinger said, per Bob Baptist of The Athletic. "I was still a kid, and I really f--ked it up."

Sullinger, who was considered a potential top-five pick before injury questions dropped him to No. 21 overall in 2012, played his first four seasons with the Boston Celtics before an 11-game stint with the Toronto Raptors in 2016-17. 

"Of course, everybody's dream is to play in the NBA. Don't get me wrong," Sullinger said. "But I just want to play basketball somewhere. I'm at that point in my dream. I just want to play basketball and get paid somewhere to be able to play basketball. That's my main goal. Whether it's here, there or on the moon, I'm there."

Sullinger is playing alongside fellow Ohio State alums for Scarlet and Gray in the 2018 Basketball Tournament. He's taken a starring role on the squad, scoring 48 points over the first two games to lead the former Buckeyes to a pair of victories. The games were played at Capital University just outside of Columbus, Ohio, over the weekend, with droves of Ohio State faithful making the trip.

Sullinger will be joined next weekend by Greg Oden, another former Ohio State star whose NBA experience went anything but swimmingly. Unlike Sullinger, Oden does not appear to be making a push for an NBA comeback.

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