Jared Sullinger and Trey Burke go way back. In fact, they go back generations. Basketball is in their blood and that blood is tied together. Both boys grew up in Columbus, Ohio with fathers who taught them the game.
Jonathan Abrams put together a wonderful in depth piece on Grantland about the two players and their friendship.
Here's the link: Big Man, Little Man
The article talked a lot about Sullinger's size, even as a third grader. It's incredible how some things are simply ingrained in a person from the very beginning. Sullinger always had a big body with fantastic footwork and agility.
A few quotes about Sullinger's heft as a youth:
Trey Burke said, "When I first saw Jared, he was kinda fat…Like, he was big."
The article went on to highlight Benji Burke's reaction to Sullinger, "The first thing Benji noticed was Jared's belly…But he marveled at young Sullinger's nimbleness."
Clearly, Sullinger's size was something that gave his opponents a false sense of security. Still to this day Sullinger still amazes with his nimble footwork. Satch Sullinger, Jared's dad (who has been with Jared in Boston a lot this year), "had Jared performing footwork drills by the age of 2… for a big kid he moved like a dancer."
Burke and Sullinger wowed the crowds during their games. Sullinger would pull down the rebounds and Burke would make the transition lay-up. Sullinger struggled to go up and down the court according to a lot of people interviewed in the article.
Now, the two boys that played in the basement together, that dominated AAU together, that ended up at Ohio State and Michigan will get to wear the same uniform again tonight in the Rising Star Challenge. Both players have grown up, but Abrams article is an interesting peek into the fact that the more things change, the more they stay the same.
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