Buckeye Ballers Stay Close

Former Ohio State basketball stars live all over the world, but plenty of the former Buckeye players spend their summers reuniting on campus.

This time of year when Satch Sullinger hears keys jingling outside his home, he knows it’s likely his youngest son Jared, but who is accompanying the former Buckeye star and current Boston Celtic is anyones guess.

It could be any number of other Ohio State basketball alums. Satch knows that Evan Ravenel, Jon Diebler, Deshaun Thomas or any other of the litany of Buckeyes who call Columbus home in the offseason could be accompanying Jared. To Satch, it’s all the same.

“They’re all No. 4,” Satch said. “I have three sons and I don’t want to choose between the other guys so they are all No. 4.”

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The nature of Satch Sullinger’s relationship with his son’s former teammates – and even some former Buckeyes whose time at Ohio State who didn’t overlap with the two seasons that Jared Sullinger starred at the Schottenstein Center – is indicative of the close bond that permeates the community of former Ohio State basketball players.

“We keep in contact with one another,” Jared Sullinger said. “On top of that when we come back and work out at the Schott we don’t skip a beat. We pick up where we left off every summer and it’s always an enjoyment to be around those guys.”

Those bonds make it easy for Sullinger to get former Buckeyes to participate in events like last weekend’s Team Sully v. Team Burke charity basketball game at East High School as part of the ninth annual Rodgers Neighborhood Basketball Battle for Peace Classic. Ravenel, Diebler, Thomas, Terence Dials and Sullinger’s current Celtics teammate Evan Turner all played in this year’s game.

While they didn’t all play together in Columbus and their careers have taken them as far as Poland and Turkey, the former Buckeyes are far from strangers.

“Everyone that I have come in contact with through Ohio State I have kept a good relationship with,” Ravenel said. “We work out every morning together pretty much.”

Like many of the Buckeyes who now call Columbus home in the offseason, Ravenel did not grow up near Ohio’s capital, but, like Diebler and Thomas, when he isn’t playing overseas he returns to his college home.

While this past weekend’s events were about giving back to the Columbus community in the form of a basketball game and the professionals interact most frequently when working out on campus, the former Buckeyes welcome any type of competition.

“Last summer, we all got together and had Monopoly night,” Diebler said. “We are grown men playing Monopoly. That’s just how we are, we like to hang out and enjoy each other’s company. It’s fun, we did that a couple times last summer and that is going to happen again. That just shows the guys that we have and coach (Thad) Matta always says it, he’s going to recruit high-character guys and he’s done that. We formed these relationships in college and they all last. That’s why we like coming back to Columbus in the summer, why we all work out together and hang out with each other.”

Diebler comes back from Turkey, Ravenel from Poland and Thomas from Spain. Whether it’s for a good cause, a game of Monopoly or to stop by the Sullinger house, the former Buckeyes are as tight as ever.

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