B.J. Mullens Declares Eligibility for NBADL

NCAA Siena Ohio St BasketballLast season, the front court of the ultimately NIT-bound Ohio State Buckeyes featured a seven-foot big man by the name of Kosta Koufos.  A native of Canton, Ohio, Koufos had a reasonably successful season, averaging 14 points and seven rebounds per game and was actually named the NIT MVP (yes, that exists) after leading the Buckeyes to the “title.” 

Koufos, a freshman at the time, then decided that his stay in Columbus was going to come to an end and declared eligibility for the NBA draft.  You know that things aren’t all they are cracked up to be when Clevelanders are adamant against drafting players from Ohio State in any sport, but such was the case with Koufos and the Cavaliers having a late pick in the first round.  Danny Ferry chose J.J. Hickson and Koufos wound up in the hands of the Utah Jazz.  And after 48 games this season, the Jazz have opted to send Koufos to the Utah Flash – the team’s Developmental League franchise.

And after a season of nine points and five rebounds per game, this year’s freshman big man, B.J. Mullens, believes that he too is ready follow his predecessors footsteps and take the leap to the next level.  The Columbus Dispatch reports that Mullens will be the latest one-and-done of the Ohio State Buckeyes as he declared his eligibility for the NBA.

When you have a young, seven-foot center that only managed to pull down five rebounds per game, you can understand the concern by those that were around him at Ohio State as well as the fans that were expecting a lot more out of the much-discussed recruit.

“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,” [Coach Thad] Matta said.

As one of the top recruits in the country, Mullens has a ton of upside, but is very, very raw.  As Rock mentioned in an email yesterday evening, if any player on the current Buckeyes team needs the financial benefit of the NBA sooner than later, it is Mullens.  However, one has to wonder how much he could be leaving on the table over the long run by forgoing at least one more season with the Scarlet and Gray.

The Columbus Dispatch reports that such respected NCAA basketball minds like Rick Pitino and Dick Vitale have both publicly urged Mullens to come back for another season, but it was apparently all for naught.  With guys like Greg Oden and Mike Conley leaving after their freshman season, and getting drafted early on, you can understand the allure.  However, Mullens is currently pegged to be selected in the late ‘teens, possibly falling in to the  20s a la Koufos. 

Mullens’ comments on his decision make me raise an eyebrow.

“People on the street don’t really realize how hard it is practicing, getting your body beat up every day,” he said. “They only see the games and the dunks. They don’t really see behind the scenes, the battle you have to go through. It’s something I’ll have to really think deep about.”

If he thinks his freshman year in college was a “battle,” just wait until he gets on an NBA floor.

OSU’s Mullens heads to NBA [Columbus Dispatch]
(AP Photo/Al Behrman)

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com Denny

    “Wait till he gets to an NBA floor” – I don’t think warm-ups and post-game hugs are much of a battle. That is, if he makes it to the end of the bench.

  • BisonDeleSightings

    The Idaho Stampede can’t wait to get their hands on this guy.

  • Boomhauer

    I hope he falls to the 2nd round so he doesn’t get a guaranteed contract. He’s gotten “bust” written all over him.

  • DCBucks

    He’ll be a major bust in the NBA. I doubt he sees the end of an NBA bench. I hope Matta starts recruiting kids with more heart and less physical ability. I see teams like Xavier and Cleveland St. with players that outperform the higher rated kids at tOSU, and it makes me wonder if the program wouldn’t be better served with kids that are more likely to play 3 or 4 years. Oden, Conley, and Cook were the exception.

  • Swig

    Way to talk yourself down a couple more spots.

    I don’t know anything about mullins because I don’t follow college bball. However, this sounds like a prime candidate for a player who ends up broke after their NBA career is over.

  • http://www.NoLogoNeeded.com Don_NoLogoNeeded.com

    So I didn’t watch much, if any, Ohio State basketball this year, but I just had a buddy tell me Mullens DIDN’T EVEN START FOR THE BUCKEYES, yet this guy is going pro?

    Wow. But, the NBA will draft on potential, he’ll get paid and if he’s smart (which it doesn’t seem like he is) he won’t blow all the money and bet set for life.

  • NCbuckeye

    Granted I only watched the Buckeyes when they were playing on ESPN this year, but of all the players that rotated in and out of the game, that Mr. Mullens was one of the least prepared players to physically play in the NBA.

    His inability to rebound over smaller, and less skilled opponents than he will face in the NBA was troublesome, and his offensive or defensive skill set didn’t look polished enough to make up for the lack of hustle plays that would be required on the NBA level for a player with a limited skill set.

    By all means, I hope he succeeds and wish nothing but the best of luck to him, but don’t understand the decision at all.

  • Ricky

    Every consistently good basketball program is built around a mix of solid 4 year guys with maybe the occasional one or two year player thrown in. You simply can’t win on a consistent basis when your best players are freshman. OSU should be fine next year, since they have a lot of sophomores like Turner who will probably stay and get better, so they are taking steps in the right direction. But if you look at North Carolina, Memphis, Michigan St, just to name a few, they go far in the tournament every year and rarely have a one-and-done player (obviously Rose for Memphis being the exception, but the year before he got there Memphis was in the Elite 8 and the year he is gone Sweet 16). They still recruit the McDonalds All-Americans and 5 star guys, but they stay in school for more than a year. I’m not an OSU Basketball fan, but I like Matta, he is a great recruiter, but he has to start bringing in players that don’t leave right away, because its always obvious which ones are going to leave and which ones will stay a little longer

    Just look at teams that have won National Titles recently, few one and done players show up, but NBA talent is still there, because there is a difference. Kansas, Florida twice, North Carolina, UCONN, look at the rosters from those teams and you won’t find any one and done players, except Marvin Williams, which almost doesn’t count because he was a 6th man

  • B-bo

    The only way I’d want to see this kid in a Cleveland uni would be if the Rockers were still in town. Or if he were taking DD’s spot on the Indians roster. On the bright side, his NBDL battles with Josh McRoberts will be epic–if by epic you mean hilarious.

  • Harv 21

    Wait, it’s almost noon ….HEY, WFNY EDITORS, WHERE’S MY BROWNS STORY???!!! C’mon, I’m getting the shakes. Only five months until the season starts and some assistant to the regional ticket sales manager in Berea burped, the coach was a real meannie to somebody, a third string nose tackle tripped on a roll of trainer’s tape … something important happened, I can feel it! I’ll sit here and rock back and forth cuddling my brown and orange nerf football, but please please hurry …

  • Glaumdawg

    Mullens had a really rough upbringing. He wants the money now. Not the right decision, as he had a terrible freshman year, and by all appearances is sliding down the draftboard. Hopefully he hasn’t hired an agent and will reconsider. But I doubt that will happen as all of the lights don’t appear to be on upstairs.

  • Jason

    Much of the talk about why BJ should go back to OSU is on the assumption that it will make him a better player and hence drafted higher when he does declare. I seriously question this for a couple reasons.

    1. The college game is far, far removed from the NBA both in terms of talent and style of play. I think a full year of practice even, with an NBA squad, learning about the spacing, post play, defensive rotations, etc, is going to be a lot more valuable than playing 25 minutes a game against Purdue.

    2. His coming back assumes that he’s going to improve, play more, impress the scouts, etc.

    Let’s operate under the assumption that this kid has average talent, a low basketball IQ, and questionable work ethic; perspectives that might be prevalent in the league. If he comes back and plays another year at OSU, he’s another year older and his “upside potential” just got more limited. Playing another year of college basketball can only show scouts he’s not really that good.

    I guess it boils down to a couple different perspectives:

    1. If you think he stinks as a player and has no future his best course of action (economics-wise) is to come out now before he shows his lack of skills any further.

    2. If you think he’s good but needs more seasoning he’s still better to do that in the NBA than at OSU.

    I personally think he has a future in the league; maybe not a bright one but not the next Robert Swift.

    And of course none of this touches on whether or not the kid actually needs the money, the benefits of a college education, or the joke that is the NCAA. But that’s a whole other discussion…

  • MacNip

    I was surprised he didn’t play more against Sienna. He seemed to play just fine when he was in the game. I don’t follow OSU basketball so that was the only time I had seen him play all year

  • http://www.jrosen.wordpress.com Jacob Rosen

    Quit it with the Browns banter.. But Mullens will not be any good at any level of basketball for a long time still. He was good for maybe a two or three game stretch this season, and even fouled out in the Big Ten Championship loss to Purdue. He is just an under-skilled seven footer from a state that usually produces a ton of talented ballers.

  • wendigo

    lol this title is perfect.

  • http://www.thundertreats.com DiLo

    I remember watching the draft last year and praying out loud…

    “Don’t take Koufos, Don’t take Koufos, Don’t take Koufos”

    I think we all know what name will be inserted this year…

  • Glaumdawg

    The title is pretty funny :)

  • Lyon

    Hey Jason if you think Mullens needs more seasoning and would get it better in the NBA than college, DaJuan Wagner & Chris Taft (Pittsburgh ’05)wants to talk to you.

  • Ricky

    Yea, if you don’t play in games in the NBA you aren’t going to get better, just practice won’t be enough you have to learn how to apply it in an actual game. I agree with your (Jason) assessment though that if he has no chance to ever make it in the league and has no skill, now is the time to declare because it is maximizing his earning potential. It is to his advantage that the draft class this year is below-average, he might sneak his way into the lottery. With the intelligence level of most NBA GMs, it wouldn’t surprise me. Memphis, I’m looking at you

  • http://www.jrosen.wordpress.com Jacob Rosen

    @16 – I did the exact same thing haha.

  • http://waitingfornextyear.com Denny

    If any of you guys were in the NBA draft livechat, you know exactly how we felt about Koufos. The same can be said about Mullens, except he’s proven even less at this point than Koufas had at this point last year.

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