San Diego loses head coach, game to Columbus Northland at FTTH

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Northland’s Jared Sullinger goes up against San Diego’s Jeremy Tyler at the FTTH. (Photo by Nick Falzerano)

The game that almost wasn’t finally was. Despite circumstances which nearly cost both teams the chance to compete – and did cost San Diego’s head coach his job – Columbus Northland outshined San Diego (CA) 56-39 Saturday at a sold out Trent Arena in Kettering as part of the Flyin to the Hoop boys basketball invitational.


The game that almost wasn’t finally was. Despite circumstances which nearly cost both teams the chance to compete – and did cost San Diego’s head coach his job – Columbus Northland outshined San Diego (CA) 56-39 Saturday at a sold out Trent Arena in Kettering as part of the Flyin to the Hoop boys basketball invitational.

Northland forward Jared Sullinger led all scorers with 23 points, while San Diego post Jeremy Tyler countered with 22. Sullinger (6-9), an Ohio State recruit, is the No. 1 ranked junior in the country by ESPNU, while Tyler (6-11), a Louisville commit, is ranked No. 7.

The highly anticipated match up of big men almost didn’t happen – numerous times.

On Thursday, Northland was originally pulled from the event due to a then-believed Columbus City School District rule, which said no athletic teams could compete on a weekend if classes were canceled Friday. They were. The ruling was overturned early Friday morning.

Friday night, San Diego High placed its head coach Kenny Roy and two assistants on administrative leave just hours before a game with Serra (CA). Roy is accused of recruiting violations concerning three-high profile players who moved into the district prior to this season. All three players were ruled ineligible by the California Interscholastic Federation’s San Diego Section before the season began. The three players and their families have fought the ruling in San Diego Superior Court. A decision is expected this week.

As of 9:30 p.m. Friday night, San Diego was not coming to Kettering and had not purchased plane tickets.

FTTH president Eric Horstman said he received the news and immediately started trying to get the team here. By 1:00 a.m. Horstman had secured plane tickets on Orbitz and the game was back on.

San Diego brought two coaches and seven players.

“We had a tough time getting here,” Tyler said. “We left last night at like three in the morning to drive the two hours to LA to get on a plane at six right after a game. We were extremely tired and worn out. We had jetlag and some of us didn’t eat or sleep. We came out here with seven guys and played on heart.”

Said Sullinger: “I was real disappointed that we were going to let them come all the way out here and not have a game. Unfortunately our superintendent said the game was off and then we went through the policy and found out what should happen if this happened and it happened.”

The meeting was important for many reasons, one of which was showcasing the talents of Sullinger and Tyler.

Not often do players the caliber of these two get to match games, but Saturday they did. And ESPN was on hand.

The cable sports giant sent a three-man crew to document the game and they recorded a memorable clash – eventually.

Sullinger was sent to the bench early with two questionable fouls in the game’s first two minutes and 30 seconds. Both were drawn by Tyler. Sullinger didn’t resurface until the second half. His team, though, led 22-17 at the break.

To begin the third quarter Northland continued to increase its advantage by steadily feeding and finding Sullinger. Sullinger scored 21 of his game-high 23 points in the second half. He also sent Tyler to the bench with his fifth foul late in the fourth quarter. Sullinger added nine rebounds in 18 minutes of action.

“I didn’t show them all of it,” said Sullinger when asked if the thought he gave a solid Ohio State contingent a solid performance. “I only played like two minutes in the first half so I could have done a lot more than that.”

Tyler grabbed a game-high 11 boards to go with his 22 points. He also had two blocks and a steal in 28 minutes.

Both bigs were happy to have had the opportunity to finally meet and compete.

“We were talking off and on,” Sullinger said. “He said he was going to kill me and I said I was going to kill him and we were talking trash. And you know what we won.

“The challenge was playing against a shot blocker. I hardly ever get to play against a shot blocker in my conference games. I got to play against him and adjust my game to his and he had to adjust his game to mine…I can’t say anything bad about his game”

Added Tyler: “In San Diego there aren’t many kids that can match up with me so I was looking forward to the meeting and some competition. Sullinger’s a very good player and he’s going to have a great future. He’s my friend. I’m going to call him later tonight and tell him good game.”

To view pictures from this event click here

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