Summer Spotlight: BJ Mullens

Sat, 08/18/2007 - 8:21pm

By Kevin Duffy

[img_assist|nid=3673|title=BJ Mullens|desc=|link=none|align=right|width=300|height=450]In three seasons at Ohio State, Thad Motta has already established himself as one of the premier recruiters in the country. The class of 2006, which featured three first-round draft picks in lasts year's NBA Draft- Greg Oden (1st overall), Mike Conley Jr. (4th), and Daequan Cook (21st)- was easily the best recruiting class in the country and may go down as one of the greatest classes of all-time. Though the Buckeyes lost arguably their top three players, they return David Lighty, a five-star small forward out of high school, and Othella Hunter, a highly-touted junior college transfer who figures to play a much bigger role now that Oden is gone. Motta's reloaded with another excellent incoming freshman class for this season, headlined by sweet-shooting five-star big man Kosta Koufos. Koufus is joined by Dallas Lauderdale, a four-star power forward, and two four-star swingmen, Jon Diebler and Evan Turner. To add even more excitement for Buckeye fans, Motta has already inked two of the country's top recruits for the class of 2008.

William Buford, a 6'5'' shooting guard from Toledo, is the third ranked SG in the entire 2008 class and in most cases, would be any team's top signee. But not when he is in the same class as BJ Mullens, NBADraft.Net's projected #1 overall pick of the 2009 NBA Draft. BJ Mullens, a 7'0'' 255 low-block presence from nearby Canal Winchester, OH, may have a Greg Oden-like impact as a freshman for the Buckeyes. He and Koufos complement each other perfectly and assuming Koufos returns for his sophomore season, Ohio State will have a dominant frontcourt capable of making another Final Four run. Expectations are high for Mullens, who committed to Ohio State before playing a single high school game, but he is working hard everyday and not taking anything for granted. Though he's spent a good portion of the summer at various camps and tournaments (he is currently at the Adidas Super64 in New Jersey), Mullens was able to recap what his average summer day at home consists of.

9:30 AM- Wake-Up/Breakfast
I try to eat a pretty big breakfast after I get up. Usually I have some eggs and cereal so I'm ready to go for my workout at 11:00.

11:00 AM- Weight Room/Individual Work
I've been lifting four days a week in my high school gym throughout the whole summer. I'm focusing on becoming stronger and thicker so I can use my body in the post, but also on becoming more explosive. I'm performing a ton of different lifts, most of which put strain on more than one muscle group and really enhance my athletic performance. For my upper body, I'm doing lifts such as bench press, shoulder press, bar curl, lat pulldown, pushups, dumbbell curl, shrugs, and power shrugs. For my lower body, I have to perform lifts such as squat, hack squat, front squat, power jerk, power clean, hang clean, and walking lunges. A lot of those lifts involve my torso and abdomen as well and help the development of fast-twitch fiber muscles that will make me a more explosive player.

On the days that I don't lift, I get on the court at my high school and work on my ball skills. I start out in the post working on my low block moves, but spend a lot of time trying to expand my game as well. I'm doing a lot of dribbling drills so I can handle the ball better and attack the basket from the perimeter when I need to. I also do a lot of mid-range shooting drills on the gun and sometimes make up my own mini-challenges to set a goal for my shooting sessions. For example, sometimes I will have to make 10 shots in a row from the same spot before I move onto the next spot. I wouldn't say there is one area of my game that I'm really focusing on, I'm just trying to get better as an all-around player.

12 PM- Lunch
After my workout, I head back home and have a Myoplex shake and some peanut butter. I might grab some type of lunch food as well if I'm still hungry.

5 PM- Pick-Up at Ohio State
The OSU campus is only about ten minutes from my house, so on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, I head up there to play pick-up with the team. The games are always close and competitive even though we are all friends. I've become real close with some of the freshmen this year, most notably Kosta Koufos, Jon Diebler, and Evan Turner. Jon has been one of my best friends for quite some time. Before he moved onto the Ohio State campus, I used to go over his house all the time to hang out. I was actually there just the other week for his grad party. I can't wait to play with him in a Buckeye uniform. As for Kosta, some people think that we won't be able to co-exist because we are both 7-footers, but we've worked very well together so far during the pick-up games. He is more of a perimeter-oriented big man and I'm a low post player, so I think we will fit in nicely.

7 PM- Plyometrics
My plyometric work is basically a supplement to my explosive lower-body weightlifting. It helps me with my quickness and my vertical leap. Some of the typical drills I do are squat jumps, frog leaps, and calf raises. After I complete my jumping drills, I'll usually run on the bleachers to conclude my workout.

8 PM- Back Home
When I get home from my workout, I'll eat whatever my mom has cooked for me and then I will do some studying. I'm taking a few intersession classes right now, and I don't have much time during the day to study, so I usually save that until after dinner. When I'm done hitting the books, I just relax for a little while and hang out with friends.

Mullens Sounds Off:

On High School: You have to take everything one step at a time and right now I am focused on my high school team (Canal Winchester HS) for next season. Our goal is to bring home a state championship and I know we have the talent and experience to do so. When I go off to a camp, I come back with a lot of new basketball knowledge that I share with my high school teammates. In addition to that, I know everyone is working hard individually so I'm excited to see what we can do next year.

On playing for Thad Matta at Ohio State: In my opinion, Coach Matta is one of the best coaches in the entire country. He came in and won 20+ games in his first year, which is a big, big deal here in Ohio. That team would have easily made the NCAA Tournament if it were not for the penalties placed upon the team because of former coach Jim O'Brien's recruiting violations. In his second year, he ran up against a tough Georgetown team and last season, he brought Ohio State all the way to the National Championship game. I hope we can take the next step and win it all when I get there. I know we'll have the talent to do so and Coach Matta is masterful at getting the most out of all his players, so I think we are going to have a very good chance in the coming years.

On his NBA aspirations: I've always dreamed about playing in the NBA, but I can't get too far ahead of myself. I am focusing on high school right now, and then after that, I'm excited about going to college. I want to try to spend all four years at Ohio State and earn my degree because basketball will always be there for me, but say I enter early and get hurt, then I don't have an education to fall back on.

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