Gridders Graduate, Baseballers Drafted

The Professionally Speaking Roundup for this week brings details about some of the 100-plus athletes who graduated from Ohio State over the weekend as well as a look back at the Major League Baseball draft and a peak ahead at what might be to come in the NBA's own talent dispersal event.

How about some graduation congratulations to start off this weekly look at what's going on with former Ohio State athletes who are plying their trade for pay?

Ohio State's 388th commencement involved 107 athletes - some with eligibility remaining and some without - among more than 8,000 students on Sunday.

Among those getting degrees were two of the seven Buckeye football players drafted by NFL teams this past April.

Both Malcolm Jenkins and Brian Hartline received degrees in communications, and they weren't the only grads with ties to the NFL. Joining them on the commencement list were current Carolina Panther safety Nate Salley as well as former NFL and Arena Football League defensive lineman Winfield Garnett.

While Jenkins and Hartline both managed to earn their degrees in four years in Columbus, the wait was a bit longer for both Garnett and Salley.

Salley, whose degree is in economics, finished up his eligibility at the conclusion of the 2005 season before becoming a fourth-round pick of the Panthers, while Garnett called it a Buckeye career after two years as a starter in 1996-97.

(Since we are sure you are curious, the other football players, past or present, to receive degrees were Tyson Gentry, Robert Kelly, Michael Mattimoe, Aaron Pettrey, Ryan Pretorius, Chris Rieschlin, Anderson Russell, Maurice Wells and Lawrence Wilson. Find a full list of Ohio State athletes to graduate here)...

And while we're talking congratulations, some would also seem to be in order for a pair of Ohio State baseball players who heard their name called in last week's Major League Baseball amateur draft.

First to go was star closer Jake Hale, an Albany, Ohio, native, who went in the 27th round to the Arizona Diamondbacks after a first-team All-America senior season in scarlet and gray.

The 6-6, 200-pound senior saved a school-record 18 games in 40 appearances and also broke the Ohio State career record with 29 saves.

Hale was drafted for the third time, while former teammate Zach Hurley is a first-time draftee.

Hurley, a junior from Springboro, Ohio, is a two-year starter in the outfield for Ohio State with a year of eligibility left but a decision to make about what he will do next after following a big summer of 2008 in the Great Lakes Collegiate Baseball League with a standout season as the leadoff hitter for the 2009 Big Ten Baseball Champion Buckeyes.

A senior academically, he has three quarters left before earning a degree in family resource management and consumer science and could return to Ohio State for one more season to attempt to improve his draft status (the Florida Marlins took him in the 45th of 50 rounds) or sign a professional contract and begin his journey to The Show.

Hurley told his hometown newspaper, the Dayton Daily News, he would not make a hasty decision.

"Pro ball is definitely tempting," he said. "It's what I've wanted since I was 8 years old playing tee-ball, pretending to be Mark McGwire or Barry Bonds. But it's not a decision made in a phone call or a day."

Last season, the 6-0, 205-pounder finished second in the Big Ten with 89 hits. The Buckeyes' leadoff hitter batted .346 with 58 runs scored and 14 stolen bases.

According to the university, that makes eight straight years at least two Buckeyes have been selected in the MLB draft...

Switching sports, reported Monday that B.J. Mullens was among a handful of players initially scheduled to work out for NBA teams in New Jersey over the weekend, leading to speculation the one-year Buckeye center had gained confidence in his status as a possible lottery pick in the league's upcoming draft.

Whether that is true or not, the same website predicted in a mock draft published early Tuesday morning that he would slide to No. 19 and the up-and-coming Atlanta Hawks.

That projection is not far off from one published the same day by Sean Devaney of the Sporting News.

Devaney slotted Mullens No. 20 to Utah, where he would join fellow one-and-done OSU big man Kosta Koufos.

That projection is five spots lower than Devaney's previous mock draft.

Also of note, Devaney believes the Memphis Grizzlies will take Spanish point guard Ricky Rubio No. 2, an oft-debated scenario that would call into question the role of current Griz point guard Mike Conley Jr.

Draftexpress projects Arizona State shooting guard James Harden to be the Grizzlies' man with Rubio sliding to the Sacramento Kings at No. 4...

While that is a wrap for this week's Professionally Speaking weekly roundup, a summer feature on designed to help pass the long summer months before football kicks up again, be sure to check out the Pro Speak Blog on our premium Ask The Insiders message board or the stand-alone feature on the web. Aside from those tales already detailed above, head there to find stories and notes about Roy Hall, Alex Boone, Nick Mangold, Brian Robiskie, Bobby Carpenter, Shawn Springs, Vernon Gholston, Antonio Pittman and others, all covered in the previous week in a frequently updated format.

And, as always, feel free to ask at either site for updates on any former Buckeyes about whom you might be curious!

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