We’re going to be looking at some of the key players of the 2011 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, and we’re going to kick it off with Ohio State‘s Jared Sullinger.
There’s a strong case to be made that Sullinger is the top player in the country. The 6-9, 280-pound freshman was a monster inside for the Buckeyes, averaging 17.2 points and 10.1 rebounds a game while shooting 53% from the floor.
He’s been named a Wooden Award finalist, an award given to “the nation’s best player at an institution of higher education who has proven to his or her university that he or she is making progress toward graduation and maintaining a minimum cumulative 2.0 GPA.” He was also named the Big 10’s Freshman of the Year and is a finalist for the U.S. Basketball Writers Association’s Oscar Robertson Award, given to their player of the year.
In helping the Buckeyes win the Big 10 Tournament, Sullinger put up three straight double-doubles, including 20 points and 18 rebounds in an overtime victory over Northwestern during which he played all 45 minutes.
Sullinger is a dominant force inside, and figures to carry the Buckeyes on a deep run through the tournament.