Signing Day A Family Affair For Northland Duo

The Ohio State men's basketball team added the nation's top-ranked recruiting class Wednesday by signing six new members. Later that evening, Columbus Northland duo Jared Sullinger and J.D. Weatherspoon celebrated their decision with a rally at their high school gymnasium. Also, the women's team welcomed in four new players as well.

Signing day was a family affair for Jared Sullinger and J.D. Weatherspoon.

The two seniors from Columbus Northland comprise one-third of what Scout.com has deemed the nation's No. 1 recruiting class for Ohio State. In the gymnasium where they have become prep stars, the two put pen to paper in front of a crowd that numbered more than 100 and officially became Buckeyes.

It was an emotional time as both players had to wipe away tears while thanking those in the community for helping them get to where they are.

"It's one step of growing from a boy to a man," Sullinger said. "You saw me crying on camera. I'm normally not the one who cries, but it's the first time I'm leaving my family. It's going to be tough."

Sullinger was quick to point out that the two would not be going far, however, as the OSU campus is less than 10 miles from their high school.

When they get there, head coach Thad Matta said he is excited for the potential that will be in uniform. Four of the six members of the class of 2010 are ranked among the top 100 players in the country by Scout, and both Sullinger and Deshaun Thomas are listed among the top 25.

But looking at the class as a whole, Matta praised each player for being a good person both on and off the court. Each member of the class has played in a state championship game, four have won three straight national championships in AAU basketball and two boast a 4.0 grade-point average.

"I think the thing that I'm excited about is adding this class and hopefully with what we will have coming back, you've got a great mix of freshmen and upperclassmen, which is exciting for me," he said.

Matta added that he foresees no academic problems for any of the incoming freshman.

At the press conference in the Northland gym, Sullinger and Weatherspoon – a three-star recruit who initially was a verbal commitment to Xavier – each gave lengthy speeches thanking all those who had helped them on their way, pausing to wipe away tears along the way.

Northland head coach Satch Sullinger – Jared's father – said he considers the two "stealth players" because they have not let their success make them into people who flaunt it.

"You play the game like you live life," the coach said. "Eventually that stuff catches up to you.

"They're winners," he added. "They understand it's OK to score seven points and win, but it's not acceptable to score seven points and lose with the talent that they have."

The two were saluted by a video that lasted nearly 45 minutes titled featuring former coaches and teachers telling their favorite stories about them. The school's cheerleaders performed a handful of routines, and the two entered the gymnasium to the strains of OSU's fight song.

Not surprisingly, both were dressed in scarlet and gray attire: Sullinger in a sweater vest, Weatherspoon in a dress shirt and tie.

"I wouldn't say it's all over because we still have some business here at Northland," Weatherspoon said. "It feels real good. I've been through a lot. I had to take my time, but now I can just breathe."

Weatherspoon added that he got his most recent ACT results back and that he scored a 22, which is coupled with his 3.4 grade-point average. He donned a scarlet OSU hat with black customized stitching that designated him as a member of the class of 2010 as he signed his papers.

Also signing for the Buckeyes were four-star point guard Aaron Craft, four-star shooting guard Jordan Sibert and three-star point guard Lenzelle Smith. Together, the class marks Matta's first No. 1 class, even eclipsing the "Thad Five" class of 2006 that included Greg Oden, Mike Conley Jr. and Daequan Cook.

Weatherspoon has a name for this class: "The Super Six."

Women's basketball head coach Jim Foster added four frontcourt players Wednesday with the signing of Ohioans Amy Scullion of Salem and Darryce Moore of Youngstown Boardman along with out-of-state prospects Ashley Adams and Martina Ellerbe.

Scullion, a 6-0 forward, is the highest-rated of the group as ESPN rates her the No. 44 player in the country and the No. 9 forward. She is also among the nation's best volleyball players, but she will concentrate on basketball at Ohio State. She was a third-team all-state selection last season in basketball when she averaged 17.1 points per game.

Moore, a 6-2 forward, is an AAU teammate of Scullion and averaged 19.1 points and 11 rebounds per game last season en route to being named second-team All-Ohio. Her brother, J.T. Moore, is a 2010 verbal commitment to Jim Tressel's Ohio State football team.

Ellerbe, a 6-2 forward from Teaneck, N.J., averaged 17 points and 10 rebounds as a junior at Saint Mary's High last season and is viewed as a three-point shooting threat.

Adams, a 6-5 center from Siloam Springs, Ark., averaged 16.0 points and 8.0 rebounds last season en route to being named all-state.


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