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You’re Nuts: Who is the best Columbus basketball recruit in Ohio State history?

Historically, the most talented Buckeyes have grown up right here in Columbus — which makes this one the toughest pick yet.

Kentucky v Ohio State Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images

It is officially football season, and 85 percent of Land-Grant Holy Land has you covered in that regard. So, make sure you stay tuned for all the great coverage we have to give you as September rolls around the corner.

However, us over on the Bucketheads side of things still have you covered if you are looking for hoops content. Last week for “You’re Nuts”, we debated the top Ohio State recruit/player from Cincinnati. This week, we are talking about Columbus.

In the debate last week, Connor took the legend himself Jerry Lucas while Justin took one of the best scorers in the history of OSU hoops, Robin Freeman. Unsurprisingly, the audience sided with Connor and Jerry Lucas on this one, as Lucas got 88 percent of the vote.

After 64 weeks, here are the updated standings:

After 64 weeks:

Connor- 29
Justin- 26
Other- 7

(There have been two ties)

This week, it is the home city of Columbus we are talking about. Connor is taking Michael Redd and Justin is taking Jared Sullinger.

Buckeye Nation, let’s ride.

Today’s question: Who is the best Columbus basketball recruit in Ohio State history?

Connor: Michael Redd

Michigan v Ohio State Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

When you really dig in to the records book, there’s been quite a few great Buckeyes who grew up right here in Columbus. Herb Williams was as steady as they come and Jared Sullinger was a forceful two-and-done monster in the post.... but the best, most impactful Buckeye from CBUS is Michael Redd.

Redd was born in Columbus and attended Columbus West High School in the historic Hilltop neighborhood on the city’s west side. He graduated and played three years for the Buckeyes from 1997-2000 under both Randy Ayers and Jim O’Brien.

As a freshman in 1997, Redd averaged 21.9 points, 6.5 rebounds, 3.0 assists, and 2.0 steals per game. The Buckeyes went 10-17 overall that year and frankly kind of sucked, so Redd was able to take 18 shots per game as the most talented player. He shot 44% overall, which is acceptable but not overly efficient or great. Redd was named Big Ten “Rookie of the Year” which is now just called Freshman of the Year.

As a sophomore under first-year head coach Jim O’Brien, Redd averaged 19.5 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 2.4 assists per game. He took fewer shots per game as a sophomore, but was more efficient with them, knocking down 47% of his shots. He teamed up with Boston College transfer Scoonie Penn to carry the Buckeyes to a 27-9 record and the Final Four of the NCAA Tournament, where they were dispatched by UCONN, 64-58. Redd was the leading scorer in that game. That entire season — save for a few games — was all vacated due to NCAA violations by O’Brien and the Ohio State program.

Redd returned as a junior in 1999 and had his worst season statistically, but still a very very strong season. He averaged 17.3 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 2.1 assists per game while shooting 43.6% from the floor. Following that season, he was selected 43rd overall by the Milwaukee Bucks in the 2000 NBA Draft.

Here are a few noteworthy statistics, records, etc. that prove Michael Redd is the greatest Columbus hooper to don the scarlet and gray:

  • No. 6 all-time in scoring at Ohio State with 1,879 points
  • No. 7 all-time in scoring average at Ohio State at 19.6 PPG
  • Led Ohio State in scoring in all three of his seasons with the program
  • No. 2 in points by a freshman in Ohio State history — 658 points during the 97-98 season
  • Highest scoring average by a freshman in Ohio State history — 21.9 PPG during the 97-98 season
  • Made the first basket, three-pointer, and free throw ever made at the Schottenstein Center when it opened in 1998 (Nov. 13, 1998 vs Oakland)

Justin: Jared Sullinger

Syndication: The Columbus Dispatch Fred Squillante/Columbus Dispatch via Imagn Content Services, LLC

Sullinger is one of the best players to ever come through Columbus. Full stop. Whether from Columbus or not.

Coming from Northland High School, Sullinger was the No. 2 ranked prospect in the country in the 2010 class and averaged 24.5 points and 11.7 rebounds per game while leading Northland to a No. 1 ranking in the country. He played in the McDonalds All-American game and was the Co-MVP with Harrison Barnes. Even better, that year the game was played in Columbus. He also won the James A Naismith Award, honoring the boys’ basketball player of the year in high school.

Sullinger then came to Ohio State and immediately was a contributor — and a top one at that. In his first game as a Buckeye, he had 19 points and 14 rebounds. And Buckeye fans knew they had an all time great emerging in Columbus.

As a freshman, Sullinger averaged 17.2 points and 10.2 rebounds per game. Ohio State finished 32-2 and was the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA Tournament, but they lost to Kentucky in the Sweet 16 in a game that all Ohio State hoops fans still have engrained in their memory.

Now, here is what is likely the catch when it comes to Sullinger and his legacy at Ohio State. He only played two seasons. His sophomore season, he averaged 17.5 points and 9.2 rebounds per game and led the Buckeyes to the Final Four, losing to a stacked Kansas team.

Even though Sullinger only played two seasons in Columbus, he was a force to be reckoned with right away. Also, as a Buckeye, Sullinger was 63-10 and led the Buckeyes to two No. 1 seeds, a Sweet Sixteen and a Final Four. Sullinger could have won a championship in Columbus, but lets be honest, those things are much harder to win than we give them credit for.

Looking back on Sullinger's career, it is impossible not to see the amazing impact he had on Buckeye hoops. And he is the best hooper to come to Ohio State through Columbus.


Who is the best Columbus basketball recruit in Ohio State history?

This poll is closed

  • 41%
    Michael Redd (Connor)
    (92 votes)
  • 39%
    Jared Sullinger (Justin)
    (87 votes)
  • 19%
    Someone else
    (43 votes)
222 votes total Vote Now