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EXCLUSIVE: Thomas Worthington's Jalen Sullinger commits to Kent State

By Jake Spegal, 07/27/20, 2:45PM EDT

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Rising senior Jalen Sullinger became the second area player to commit to a MAC program on Sunday by committing to Kent State

WORTHINGTON, Ohio -- When the time and fit are right, pull the trigger.

That was the motto in Central Ohio this weekend, as Thomas Worthington senior Jalen Sullinger became the third area prospect to commit to a Division I program since Thursday by committing to Kent State on Sunday night.

"I believe Kent State has a great opportunity waiting for me there," Sullinger told 270 Hoops. "I believe I'll be able to play and make an impact right away. "

Keeping it in the family, Sullinger will join his uncle Julian in Kent, who is currently an assistant coach for the Flashes and was a two-time captain and conference champion there during his playing days from 2006-09. He originally offered Jalen back on January 26, 2019 following a breakout 26 point showing at the Scholastic Play-By-Play Classic versus Northland, where his other uncle Jared won a state title and was a McDonalds All-American from 2007-10.

"It just felt right," Jalen Sullinger said of his decision. "My uncle being there is just icing on the cake."

Despite having family ties with KSU, the Golden Flashes were not the only MAC program to pursue the rising senior hard, as Ohio University head coach Jeff Boals, who was on staff at Ohio State during Jared's playing days there, had been recruiting Sullinger as one of their top priorities for quite some time now.

In the end, Kent State's persistence from the very beginning stood out the most.

"The coaching staff did a tremendous job of staying in touch with me," Sullinger said. "Of course, Coach Jules is a given but Sendy [head coach Rob Senderoff] hit me up a lot to talk about more than just basketball. The rest of the staff got in contact with me frequently as well."

Despite only getting to play in one AAU tournament this summer with no Division I coaches permitted to attend, the senior guard felt the time was right as he will fit into the Flashes style of play excellently with his ability to create offense for both himself and others.

"I think I can offer a fast pace style of play and they like to get it up and really let their guards play. I think I'll fit in great there," Sullinger said.

At 5-foot-11, Sullinger is one of the most skilled guards offensively in the entire state, as the lefty is a knockdown shooter with in the gym range, has an elite floater package, can finish around length and is an extremely gifted passer. As he continues to develop, we expect to see him put up some impressive numbers in the MAC as not many guards are as gifted as Jalen when it comes to putting the ball in the rim.

After leading Thomas Worthington to their first district title since 2001 and advancing to the regional semifinals before having the season ended abruptly due to the COVID-19 outbreak, Sullinger can now shift his focus entirely towards getting better and preparing for a dominant senior season with the recruiting process out of the way.

"It definitely is a relief, and it makes me more excied to get ther eon campus with the team and staff and get to work," Sullinger said. "Now that I know I'm heading there in a year, I can really shift my focus to Thomas Worthington basketball and finish off our unfinished business."

Becoming the second area player in the last two years to commit to Kent State, Sullinger will join former Walnut Ridge standout and Ohio Mr. Basketball winner VonCameron Davis in Kent next year as Davis is getting ready to begin his freshman season this fall.

Now the lone commitment in the area in the 2021 class, Jalen's decision could influence other prospects to make a pledge soon as well as more and more chances for recruiting exposure are being eliminated due to COVID-19.

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