Byron “B.J.” Mullens has publicly announced that he will not be participating further in The Basketball Tournament as part of team Scarlet & Gray.
Mullens, who played for the Buckeyes for the 2007-08 season and played in the opening game of the tournament last weekend, said in a lengthy Instagram post that he will not play due to a disagreement over how the team would split the $2 million prize should it win the championship. He did not participate last summer due to an injury.
“I was not made aware of the distorted financial split with my fallow teammates until 1 day prior,” he wrote. “The reasoning for this was due to my non-participation last year due to the injury. Something that was completely out of my control.”
A now fully healthy Mullens said he turned down other opportunities to join Scarlet & Gray this summer.
“I feel that I am bringing just as much to the table for this team, and our fans as any of the other members,” he wrote. “Yet I have been made to feel that my value is somewhat less? We are a team and should be treated as such.”
In a 99-68 win Saturday against the West Virginia Wildcats, Mullens scored 14 points and had five rebounds off the bench. He was not with the team for Sunday’s game, and sources have indicated to The Dispatch that Mullens took part in a single practice leading into the start of the tournament.
After Sunday’s win against Matadors, a team of Texas Tech alumni, Scarlet & Gray coach Scoonie Penn told reporters, “Byron’s got some person stuff he’s got to handle. We all have lives outside of basketball and that comes first, so we understand that. This is a game, although we’re playing for $2 million. Things happen.”
Mullens was the 24th overall pick in the 2009 NBA draft and spent parts of five seasons in the league. Most recently, he was with the Lakeland Magic of the NBA’s G League for the end of last season. He played for the Orlando Magic’s summer league team and averaged 6.5 points and 4.0 rebounds.
He’s not the only big man who will be missing for the former Buckeyes. On an interview with FM-WXZX (105.7) today, Penn said Jared Sullinger will not play in Friday night’s game and is not expected to play at all this weekend as he gets married.
Greg Oden, however, will make his debut. How much he will play is unknown.
“I’m excited,” Oden told The Dispatch this week with a smile.
The same can’t be said for Mullens.
“I cannot continue, in good faith, to finish the tournament for considerably less than my counter parts and jeopardize a possible injury,” he wrote. “It is unfortunate that we couldn’t all agree to an even Split between everyone across the board.
“Thank you for the opportunity to play in front of our fans again. It felt like being home and a sense of family. Best of luck in the remainder of the tournament!”