Almost a decade after the Boston Celtics used a first-round pick to select him in 2012, it’s fair to say that Jared Sullinger’s NBA career didn’t go quite as expected. The 6-foot-9 forward-center had been a star at Ohio State, leading the Buckeyes to the Final Four and twice earning consensus All-America honors.
The NBA was clearly a different animal, though.
After falling to Boston at No. 21 overall, Sullinger went on to start a slew of games for the Celtics. He had his moments, too; a 31-point, 16-rebound outing against the Sacramento Kings in 2014 immediately comes to mind.
In the end, though, a steady stream of debilitating injuries and a league that covets versatile, floor-stretching big men conspired to end his run in Beantown at age 24. He was given a chance to extend his Association stay with the Toronto Raptors in 2016-17, but only saw action in 11 games before he was sent packing.
Still, the oft-injured big man affectionately dubbed Sully definitely made an impression on the Celtics faithful.
And he continues to make an impression on the hardwood, too, where he is becoming one of Asia’s biggest stars.
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Sully Captures Finals MVP Honors in the KBL
After his NBA run came to an end, Sullinger moved on to the Chinese Basketball Association, signing with the Shenzhen Aviators. He acquitted himself well with the club, averaging 29.4 points and 15.7 rebounds per contest over two seasons. However, another major injury ended his time there and kept him out of action last season.
Sullinger finally returned to the court in February, taking his talents to South Korea via the Korean Basketball League’s Anyang KGC.
It proved to be a fortuitous move for the former Celtic.
On Sunday, Sullinger and KGC completed a four-game Finals sweep of KCC Egis to capture the 2021 KBL title, as relayed by 247 Sports. KGC had posted a 30-24 regular-season record, but was a perfect 10-0 in postseason play en route to its championship win.
Sullinger excelled in his half-season with KGC, putting up 27.1 points, 12.3 boards and 3.2 assists per contest. However, he clearly saved his best for last. In Game 4 of the KBL Finals, Sullinger dropped 42 points, 15 rebounds, four assists and three steals to seal the win.
He was subsequently named the KBL Finals MVP.
After the contest, though, the 29-year-old was seemingly more concerned with the odd nickname he has earned in his new digs:
Celtics Set for Rematch With Miami Heat
As Sullinger was winning a title on Sunday, his former team was falling short in its ECF rematch with the Miami Heat. As a result of the 130-124 loss, the Cs now find themselves two full games behind the No. 6 Heat in the East standings.
On Tuesday night, the two teams will do battle once again. However, if Boston hopes to win, they’ll have to do it without the contributions of All-Star wing Jaylen Brown, who is out for the remainder of the season with a wrist injury.
While Brown’s absence is a crushing blow — not just to the player and the team, but to their playoff hopes — it should mean more playing time for rookie Aaron Nesmith, who has been balling out as of late.
Over his last six contests, Nesmith has averaged 12.0 points and 5.3 rebounds per game.
The Cs (35-33) and (37-31) Heat will tip-off from TD Garden at 7:30 pm ET.