June 09, 2009
"Miss You" -- which took a few days off there; blame it on senioritis -- is The Dagger's fond farewell to the players whose futures will soon collide with the NBA.
When I need good tempo-free stats, I check out Statsheet.com. That plug has a point; bear with me. Usually, because typing in an entire address or clicking a bookmark is so very taxing, I'll merely go to the Google toolbar in the top right of my Firefox browser -- another plug, like it matters -- and search, say, "Jeff Adrien Yahoo!" Or, in this case, "Jeff Adrien statsheet." The player page pops right up, I click it, and bam, I'm looking at basketball statistics. There are probably quicker ways to do this.
This morning, when I hit "B.J. Mullens statsheet," a funny thing happened: Despite an entire year in college basketball, the first result was Statsheet's brief little high school recruiting info page. The second result? Mullens's 2008-09 year with the Ohio State Buckeyes. For most players, not only is it the other way around, but the high school page doesn't even return a result.
Few things could better sum up Mullens's one and only year in the college game. The No. 1 overall recruit in 2008, Mullens was described as having the "type of athleticism that makes you think of Bill Walton and then he has the shooting touch that makes you wonder if he could develop into a Dirk Nowitzki type player." supposed to be a star player, but instead made almost no impact on Ohio State's season. Seriously. Check the numbers. 20 minutes, eight points, almost five rebounds, and one block per game. Not horrible, given the limited minutes -- per my crude 40 minutes that'd be around 17 points, 9.5 rebounds, and two blocks -- but not the overall impact of the next Greg Oden, which is what B.J. Mullens could be.
There's some debate, at least according to the always-with-a-grain-of-salt ruminations of Sam Smith, that Thad Matta "hid" Mullens in an attempt to prevent him from going pro. If so, bad idea, because it didn't work. But it's also hard to imagine. Matta had to know pretty early on what sort of offers Mullens was hearing; pro scouts don't forget how much they loved a player just because he gets limited minutes in college. Matta was, in his mind, playing the best squad he had, which, in his mind, means Mullens wasn't quite there yet. Anyone who watched Ohio State play would probably concur.
Maybe that hurts Mullen's draft status, in which case he falls out of the lottery, but if he wasn't ready in the first place, it was bound to happen. Mullen is all potential. It's hard not to look at him and see what scouts love. But it's also hard to see that potential blossoming into what recruiting scouts once foresaw. If you look as lost against college talent as the big man did, pro stardom is still eons away.