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2/17/2007 12:51 AM
08 OH C B.J. Mullens   (United States) Modified By srpatterson  on 6/11/2007 4:22:58 PM
B.J. Mullens
Columbus, OH
Canal Winchester
Ohio State Committment
New Post
6/16/2008 10:43 AM
Re: 08 OH C B.J. Mullens   (United States)
Ohio State
Men's basketball: Mullens gets early start on college life
Monday,  June 16, 2008 3:14 AM
<p>B.J. Mullens, a former standout at Canal Winchester, is living with three freshman teammates at Ohio State.</p>

B.J. Mullens, a former standout at Canal Winchester, is living with three freshman teammates at Ohio State.

B.J. Mullens traveled to Italy two months ago to play basketball. He was invited to visit Paris with another all-star team next week.

Instead, the closest the 7-foot-1 Ohio State freshman will get to an Eiffel Tower is standing next to Greg Oden.

"I talked with coach (Thad) Matta and he said he didn't want me to leave," Mullens said. "He wants team chemistry, wants us to have a bond and wants us to get comfortable with each other."

Chemistry was a subject the OSU men's basketball team took too long to master last season. By the time it did, its NCAA Tournament hopes had gone up in smoke. The players salved their wounded pride by winning the National Invitation Tournament.

Sophomore David Lighty was gone for parts of June and July last summer to play for USA Basketball in the under-19 world championships in Serbia. Freshman Kosta Koufos was gone for part of July and all of August after Matta reluctantly allowed him to play for Greece in the under-18 European championships in Spain. The two missed not only classes but strength and conditioning training and gym time with their teammates and other former Buckeyes who play in the Schottenstein Center during the summer.

No such interruptions are foreseen this summer. Mullens, from Canal Winchester, three other freshmen and two junior-college transfers moved on campus yesterday to join the rest of the team for the start of summer classes today. They will remain there until late August.

In an arrangement like the one two years ago involving fab freshmen Lighty, Oden, Mike Conley Jr. and Daequan Cook, Mullens will share a suite in the team dormitory with fellow freshmen William Buford, Anthony Crater and Walter Offutt.

The four comprise what Rivals.com rated the nation's No. 6 recruiting class for 2008. Mullens is ranked No. 1 among all players in the class, the same ranking given Oden in 2006.

Mullens hopes to be able to measure himself against Oden in the gym this summer, although the NBA's No. 1 draft pick last year has not been cleared for full-speed scrimmaging after missing his rookie season because of knee surgery. Oden and Conley, who left Ohio State after one season, are enrolled for summer classes and figure to be fixtures in the gym.

If not Oden, Mullens still will have a load to bear in 6-8 Dallas Lauderdale. "He's getting real strong and was pushing me around when I was up there a few weeks ago," Mullens said.

A lot of Mullens' time recently has been spent on conditioning and flexibility more than lifting and hooping.

"I talked to him about taking a little break from basketball … (so he can) be mentally fresh when he starts" college, Canal Winchester coach Kent Riggs said. "He's played so much basketball. I told him to enjoy his last couple of weeks of being a senior."

It could be Mullens' last break for a while. By this time next year, he could be auditioning for NBA teams, the third Ohio State center in as many years to leave after one season. Two online mock drafts have him among the top four picks in 2009.

Mullens said his circumstances a year from now will dictate his decision. He said Oden made a "great choice" because the knee injury "would have dropped his stock a lot." Koufos, on the other hand, would have improved his stock by staying another year, Mullens said.

What Mullens does "all depends," he said. "I haven't really thought about it. Hopefully I'll have that chance."


New Post
6/16/2008 10:54 PM
Re: 08 OH C B.J. Mullens   (United States)
BJ Mullens

BJ Mullens Starts Class

BJ Mullens steps into the spot vacated by Kosta Koufos and more appropriately Greg Oden. When he enrolled in class this week, he became the third freshman center to be considered a first round NBA draft selection before playing a game at Ohio State.

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