Mullens Developing In Sophomore Season

Last Monday, Canal Winchester World Harvest Prep downed Mid-State League rival Summit Station Licking Heights 69-61. OSU verbal B.J. Mullens, a 7-1 sophomore for Harvest Prep, keyed the win with 21 points. Click here for more.

The showcase game at last Monday's Martin Luther King Day Challenge at Ohio State's Value City Arena was Dayton Dunbar against Cleveland Villa Angela-St. Joseph.

But after those two teams cleared the floor, the varsity teams from Canal Winchester World Harvest Prep and Summit Station Licking Heights were featured. Of course, Harvest Prep is led by sophomore center B.J. Mullens, who verbaled to Ohio State in October 2004 – before ever playing a minute of varsity basketball.

Mullens endured a rough first half against Licking Heights. But he rallied and scored 18 of his game-high 21 points in the second half to help the Warriors down the Hornets 69-61.

"I came out in the first half and I wasn't letting the game come to me," Mullens said. "I was trying to take the game over. I was a little bit frustrated with some of my missed shots. I came back in the locker room, talked it over with my teammates and just let the game come to me."

Mullens sat out a large stretch of the third quarter, and Licking Heights moved ahead by as many as eight. But Mullens re-entered the game and took it over. He had three field goals to close the third quarter and six more in the fourth as Harvest Prep took the lead and held on down the stretch.

"The coaches did the right thing," Mullens said. "I was still a little bit frustrated. One of our assistants came over to me and talked to me. He just told me to let the game come to me. I took the team and put them on my shoulders."

Mullens talked about getting a chance to play on the main floor in a live game at Value City Arena, where one day he will toil for the Buckeyes.

"It was exciting, being a sophomore and playing a high school game here," he said. "It's nice to get used to it. Hopefully, we can come back and play in the state championship here."

Mullens got a chance to watch Dunbar crush VASJ as OSU signee Daequan Cook tallied 41 points.

When asked if he hoped Cook would still be around when he arrives at OSU in the fall of 2008, Mullens replied, "Oh, yeah. I hope everybody sticks around. We saw them play the first half. He's a pretty good player."

Harvest Prep stands at 9-3 on the year, including 8-1 in Mid-State League Cardinal Division play. Mullens is averaging almost 18 points and 10 rebounds per game. He is now listed at 7-1, 255 pounds, having gained two inches since verbaling to the Buckeyes.

"I have to keep playing my game," he said. "I have to step it up against better competition."

Former OSU center Will Dudley is on the coaching staff at Harvest Prep. He moved from coaching the college team there to assisting high school head coach David Mobley.

"He's been a real help," Mullens said. "We have some stocky players who push me around. We have Coach Dudley, who is my height and my level. He can push me around and also make me feel which way the guy is leaning. He helps me in practice.

"I have developed a lot. Last year, I was a freshman and I made freshman mistakes. This year, I'm a sophomore. I'm a little bit more calm than I was last year. I look for other people before I make a move in the paint."

Dudley, who played for the Buckeyes from 1999-2002, talked about Mullens' development.

"He's developing pretty well," Dudley said. "It's hard for him. He comes in and feels a pressure to produce. He has to understand that he will produce with the team. But he's coming along pretty good. His footwork is getting a lot better. He has to learn to stay within his game and let it come to him.

"In the summertime, we worked a lot on the moves. During the season, we work on the game things. He has really good footwork and a soft touch around the basket. We're trying to get him to develop a hook shot. We have two more years with him, so we still have some time to teach him some things."

Dudley talked about moving to his current position.

"I'm helping out these guys," Dudley said. "This team has a lot of talent and we will be bringing more talent in. This is a good opportunity to teach. At the college level, we did not get a bulk of talent. But with these young kids, they are working hard."

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