Buckeyes' Mullens declaring for draft
The 7-foot freshman announced Thursday he would declare himself available for the NBA draft, the fifth Buckeyes player in the last three seasons to leave after playing one year.
The Columbus-area native averaged 8.8 points and 4.7 rebounds, and shot 64 percent from the field to set a school freshman record. He started two of the 33 games this past season for the Buckeyes, who lost to Siena in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
After Ohio State went 35-4 and lost in the national championship game to Florida two years ago, freshmen Greg Oden, Mike Conley Jr. and Daequan Cook all were taken in the first round of the NBA draft. Last season, 7-foot freshman Kosta Koufos jumped was drafted by Utah.
Coach Thad Matta, who has had to basically rebuild the program each of the last three seasons, said he was disappointed that Mullens was leaving early.
"I am saddened to lose B.J.," Matta said. "On one hand, I feel another year in school would have allowed him to develop into the player I know he can be and an additional season would have been beneficial to him both personally and monetarily in the long run. On the other hand, I am empathetic to the reasons why he has chosen to leave at such an early point in his career."
Mullens' decision was hardly a secret. He had a turbulent childhood and lived for a time in a homeless shelter. After the Buckeyes' NCAA loss, he spoke of his college career in the past tense.
Nonetheless, he said the decision was difficult.
"But the many positive reasons for moving on outweigh the many good reasons for staying," he said.
Oden, also a 7-foot center, was taken with the No. 1 overall pick by Portland in 2007. Conley went No. 4 in that same draft to Memphis with Cook going No. 21 and ending up in Miami.
Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press