Jared Sullinger knows what he's getting himself into after being selected by the Boston Celtics -- and he couldn't be happier.
Sullinger was drafted with the 21st overall pick by Boston Thursday night, slipping to them after bulging disks in his back proved to be "red flags" for many NBA teams. The Celtics medical staff, along with the front office staff were ready for the risk, and Sullinger
"They have a team that took Miami to seven games," Sullinger said of the Celtics to media in Ohio Thursday night. "You have a core like Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce, and Rajon Rondo. To be able to go in there and learn from somebody like Kevin Garnett? It's a blessing. It's a blessing in disguise and it's only getting started."
Garnett hasn't officially stated that he's going to return for the 2012-13 season yet, but perhaps a new understudy could peak his interest a bit more. Garnett played with a chip on his shoulder all season, hearing the doubters say that he and the Celtics are too old. Sullinger, too, has reason for motivation after falling out of not just the top 10, but top 20 picks.
"Like the theme of this draft, it's ladders," Sullinger said. "It's only another ladder I have to climb. That's it, that's it. I gotta keep climbing, I gotta keep working hard, and it's a blessing man. Honestly, it's a blessing to be in the NBA."
Sullinger in a Celtics uniform never seemed like a possibility leading all the way up to last week, but there was one person who thought it was going to happen for years.
"What's scary is that high school assistant Coach Clouse five years ago -- actually seven years ago -- used to tell me I was going to the Boston Celtics," Sullinger said. "I just kept telling him 'No I'm not, no I'm not', and it happened. And what's such a blessing is I get to see him here and he was in tears, and I'm going to Boston."
Heading to Boston, Sullinger -- go ahead, call him Sully -- already has a bit of an idea of what to expect.
"It's great. Like I said you couldn't go to a better place than Boston," Sullinger said. "Great fans. I experienced a little bit of Boston when I was there playing in the NCAA Tournament, so I think it was a blessing in disguise."
And he's ready to add to that winning tradition that the Celtics organization is famous for having.
"Ready to dominate," Sullinger said. "Ready to play as hard as I can. Ready to learn as fast as I can. And ready to win. That's what it's all about; it's winning. So I'm ready to win."