A quote from the book, Red Auerbach's Winning Ways, we read that
"Red Auerbach chose his players for character as much as talent, and taught them to play for the team instead of individual glory."
The result of that approach was 11 championships in 13 seasons. As GM, Danny Ainge has gone about things much like Red did and has brought in guys that have high character.
Brandon Bass has been spending his summer giving back to the community as has Avery Bradley. We read how Chris Wilcox delivered a truckload of food to a food bank on Grand Strand. We also read about how Jeff Green finished his classes and got his degree from Georgetown while recuperating from heart surgery. We know that the veteran players that Danny brought in this summer - Jason Terry, Courtney Lee, and Jason Collins - all have been praised for their character by their former teams.
Recently, Jared Sullinger tweeted this:
To everybody that is throwing shots at me for leaving school early I'm still taking online classes at Ohio state. So thank you very much
— Jared Sullinger (@Jared_Sully0) August 15, 2012
Good for Jared! Jared had character instilled in him by his father early on in his life. From the Herald:
Sullinger played for his father, Satch, at Northland High in Columbus, Ohio, and enjoyed an incredible amount of success, compiling a 94-3 record in his career. But one of those rare losses had a lasting impact on Sullinger.
Northland was undefeated during Sullinger’s sophomore season and advanced to the district semifinals. Any thoughts of a state title came to an abrupt end when Satch benched Jared for failing to complete a homework assignment. Northland lost the game, but Jared gained perspective.
“It teaches you accountability. So many of these young guys nowadays, it’s all about me. They never take time to figure out how they affect others,” Satch said. “When he didn’t do his work and he forced me to make the program stand for something, he realized it didn’t just affect him, it affected others. He started to really understand what team concepts really are. He let his team down during that period of time over something he had total control over.”
Satch noticed a change in his son after that point.
“I think he really started to understand what being a good teammate was all about,” Satch said. “It’s not just getting rebounds, it’s not just putting the ball in the bucket. It’s being a good person on and off the floor. Representing your team as an individual is just as important as representing your team on the floor.”
CSNNE has more on how Jared's character will help him fit into the Celtics' game plan for the season and why he will make an impact in his rookie season.
While some rookies enter their first year determined to establish themselves as an offensive presence, the Boston Celtics forward is prepared to make the necessary adjustments to fit into the team’s system.
“As long as we get a number put on to the left side instead of the right side, I’m going to be happy,” Sullinger told CSNNE.com in a telephone interview on Wednesday.
As a rookie on a veteran squad, Sullinger is ready to embrace his place among his teammates and contribute wherever he can. A dedicated rebounder (he averaged 10.2 boards per game last season), Sullinger is looking forward to crashing the boards and helping the team with second-chance points.
The Celtics are looking forward to him doing that as well. They finished last in the league in rebounding last season.
“I’ve got to find other opportunities to score,” said Sullinger. “Like I tell everybody, rebounding is one of my strong suits of basketball. I’ve got to get ready for rebounding. Hopefully you don’t miss a lot, but if you do, hopefully I’m there to clean it up.”
Unlike a certain veteran center who played just 49 games in his 2 year tenure with the Celtics, Jared is willing to accept his role and is eager to do the best he can in that role. The Celtics will have enough scoring but desperately need rebounding, a task that Jared is ready to attack with gusto. The Celtics got a steal in the draft with Jared Sullinger, not just because he's a very good player, but because of his character, a rare combination in young players these days.