- Austin Ward, ESPN Staff Writer
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The body of work on the court was never really in question.
Boston apparently didn't have much of an issue with the actual body of Jared Sullinger, either.
After watching his draft stock take a tumble thanks to concerns about his back, the former Ohio State star still wound up comfortably in the first round with the Celtics gobbling him up with pick No. 21 in the NBA Draft on Thursday night.
"A lot of quick responses from Boston," ESPN analyst Andy Katz said during the ESPN television coverage. "First of all, they said he's a top-10 talent [and] he's very good.
"According to their doctors, it's a low risk for a high reward."
Sullinger provided plenty of the latter during his two seasons with the Buckeyes, averaging more than 17 points and 9 rebounds over his college career before electing to declare for the draft.
It was after that point that both his game and his body began to get scrutinized as teams tried to figure out where to draft the forward, with some perceived knocks about his athleticism seemingly getting as much attention as a back issue that apparently scared a few franchises away from him.
Not the Celtics, though, who seemed to put much more emphasis on the way he played in leading the Buckeyes to the Final Four than the recent medical reports.
"Jared Sullinger is just a basketball player," ESPN analyst Jay Bilas said during the broadcast. "He understands how to play, he knows how to use his body and play angles, he's not a spectacular athlete, but at 6-9 he's got a wingspan of over seven feet. He's a high-volume rebounder, and he can move people around on the court.
" ... He can play. I think he can play at the NBA level, you just have to hope that his physical health is such that he can play a long time."
The Celtics are now counting on it.
5dDan Murphy and Austin Ward