|Posted by shawn cassidy on October 13, 2013 at 5:15 AM|
Sullinger entered the 2013-14 season with unfinished business on his mind. Sully's rookie season was cut short with a back injury that led to major back surgery. I have always been a little partial when it comes to Sullinger. He's an OSU guy, and that's my team. I'm not going to lie, I feel a bit odd cheering for Sully after his altercation this summer with his girlfriend. If you put that aside Sulligner has played with passion, and the Celtic way. Sullinger has been consistent so far through four preseason games as the Celtics’ leading scorer (12.8 ppg) and rebounder (6.5 rpg).
Rebounding is instinct, according to Jared Sullinger.
That must be true, because Brad Stevens has been watching the Celtics forward’s instinct at work for a long time.
“I remember the first time I saw him play and it was in a high school open gym,” said Stevens, who was a Butler assistant coach at the time. “I called Thad (head coach Matta) on the way home and said I can’t believe how much this kid can do. Not just rebounding, but shooting, passing. He’s just a very instinctive player. He understands the game. It comes very easy to him. We’ve been better with Sully on the floor. The numbers bear that out in the first three exhibition games. Hopefully, that continues.”
Sullinger, by his own admission, is overweight and in a never-ending search for better conditioning.
He won’t say how much weight he’s lost since the start of training camp because he doesn’t know. He doesn’t look at the scale.
“I haven’t checked myself since middle of September,” said Sullinger. “I’m just mentally trying to get better and better. I don’t want to have no hiccups. Just keep working hard and get into the best shape possible.
“I use these games not as preseason games, but like I manage the season,” he said. “Just go out there and play hard. We have a lot of back-to-backs, and keep playing. I have to do a couple (of) more things, but right now I’m on schedule.”
But one gets the impression Sullinger could rebound sitting in a lounge chair and sipping his favorite cocktail.
It’s about that instinct.
“Yeah, rebounding is easy to me, because all you have to do is hold off your man and go get the rebound,” he said. “Then you’re good.
“Rebounding works if you go get it, and have the instincts for it,” said Sullinger. “That’s something you don’t lose. But I’m just playing as hard as I can. This year it’s just trying to get into the best shape possible. I have a lot of work to do.”
Right now, energy may be the most surprising part of Sullinger’s game, considering his early battle with excess weight and conditioning as the result of last winter’s back surgery.
“You hope that’s what these days are good for,” Stevens said of Sullinger’s gradual push into game shape. “Right now, we could use a day of practice more than an exhibition game. But for him these are good, really good. He played a large chunk in the third and fourth quarter (Friday night) without any rest, to the point where I took him out and would have put him back in if the game had been close at the end.”
Sullinger needs to slim down. He's a bit overweight when it comes to basketball. I didn't know how well Jared would come out this season. So far he's been very impressive on the glass, and with his ability to score the ball.