Sullinger taking charge

Jared Wickerham/Getty Images

Jared Sullinger's ability to rebound and draw charges is a big reason he's in the starting lineup.BOSTON -- Even as a young hoopster, Jared Sullinger understood the value of taking a charge.

“Freshman year [at Northland] High School [in Columbus, Ohio], playing against this [rival] team called Beechcroft High School," explained Sullinger. "We were up by one, guy came down the lane, I took a charge -- we won the game off of that and so I just understand what charges do for a basketball team. One, it’s a turnover; two, it’s a personal foul; three, you get the ball back, so you’ve got to sacrifice your body in this game.”

The Celtics have employed some of the finest charge-takers in the game in recent seasons (Glen Davis, Jermaine O'Neal) and it appears Sullinger will carry that giving-up-your-body torch.

In four games, Sullinger has drawn a team-high three charges (of seven overall taken by Boston) and he probably deserved at least one more if not for rookie whistles in Washington. Sullinger has been getting it done with the help of some trickery that dates back to his high school days.

"When people see somebody -- at the time I was maybe 6-7, 6-6, 6-5, around there, and guys would always see me as a shot-blocker," said Sullinger. "I don’t know why, but they would always see me as a shot-blocker, so what I did was, I acted like I’m going to go block the shot, I’d just stop and take the charge.”

That move is still working in the pros, where Sullinger leans on his basketball IQ to make up for the size he gives up. Does he worry about wear-and-tear from giving up his body, the type that sidelined Davis and O'Neal at times during their Boston days?

"I think I’ve got enough cushion on my body to take that, so it doesn’t really hurt me," said Sullinger. "I don’t know about the other [players], but it doesn’t hurt me.”