Jared Sullinger's recent decision to enter the NBA draft and forego his final two seasons at Ohio State reminded me of a conversation his father, Satch, myself and Steve Blackledge of The Columbus Dispatch had a few years ago.

Jared Sullinger's recent decision to enter the NBA draft and forego his final two seasons at Ohio State reminded me of a conversation his father, Satch, myself and Steve Blackledge of The Columbus Dispatch had a few years ago.

It was March 15, 2007, and Newark had just defeated Sullinger's Northland High School team 53-45 in a Division I boys regional semifinal at the Fairgrounds Coliseum. Sullinger was a freshman at the time, and the Vikings were just beginning to resemble the national powerhouse they soon would become.

As we sat in the media room long after the building had cleared out, the elder Sullinger, in no uncertain terms, informed us that his youngest son one day would become the undisputed star of the basketball-playing family.

It was a bold prediction because by that time his oldest son, J.J., already had finished his collegiate career playing a third season with the Buckeyes in 2005-06. He went on to briefly play in the NBA's developmental league and later professionally overseas. Meanwhile, middle-son Julian already was in his second season at Kent State.

But all those years of Jared being taken to task by his older brothers in pickup games were going to pay off, Satch, who had played at Oberlin, assured us. Now, it certainly looks like he was correct.

After an up-and-down sophomore season, Jared led the Buckeyes to a share of the Big Ten regular-season title and, eventually, an NCAA tournament semifinal. He still is widely expected to be a lottery pick in the NBA draft in June, and a contract tendered to any first-round pick is worth millions.

It comes with few guarantees, however.

The ThisWeek Community Newspapers era began in 1989, and over the past 23 years, fewer than a dozen athletes from the communities we serve have become first-round draft picks in a major team sport.

Two of the earliest were Westerville South's Ki-Jana Carter, who was the No. 1 pick in the NFL draft in 1995 out of Penn State, and Hamilton Township's Gary Trent, who was the 11th selection in the NBA draft out of Ohio University that same year. Injuries limited Carter to only 59 games. Trent went on to a serviceable career playing nine seasons for four teams, none of which drafted him.

For every Danny O'Rourke, a Worthington Kilbourne graduate who was the fourth pick in the MLS draft in 2005 out of Indiana, there is a Brady Quinn, the Dublin Coffman graduate who was taken 22nd in the NFL draft in 2007 out of Notre Dame. Quinn never found a home in Cleveland or Denver and now is with Kansas City, but O'Rourke has found one playing for the hometown Columbus Crew.

Whitehall's Samaki Walker lasted 10 years in the NBA after being the ninth pick in 1996 out of Louisville. Brookhaven's Terry Glenn played a decade in the NFL, too, after being selected seventh in 1996 out of Ohio State.

But Westerville South's Andy Katzenmoyer, the 28th pick in the NFL draft in 1999 out of Ohio State, played only three seasons because of injuries while Independence's Jessica Davenport, the No. 2 selection in the WNBA draft in 2007, still is trying to make a go of it.

Mike Adams, an Ohio State offensive lineman and Coffman graduate, also is considered to be a potential first-round pick when the NFL draft is held later this month. The last time two local athletes were selected in the first round in the same year in their respective sports was 2009.

Canal Winchester's B.J. Mullens, who now goes by Byron, was selected 24th in the NBA draft out of Ohio State that year by Dallas, was traded to Oklahoma City and finally found some playing time this season with Charlotte. Watkins Memorial's Eric Arnett was the 26th pick in the MLB draft out of Indiana and has suffered multiple setbacks plying his trade in the low minors.

In contrast, Westerville South's Lance Moore signed as an undrafted free agent out of Toledo in 2005 and has played in a Super Bowl with New Orleans. Newark's Derek Holland, a 25th-round pick in the MLB draft in 2006 out of Wallace State Community College in Hanceville, Ala., has pitched in two World Series with Texas.

My point is that while we all know where Jared Sullinger has been, not even his father knows where he's going. All anyone can do is wish him the best of luck.