Former Duke guard speaks publicly for first time since dismissal from team

5 Comments

Less than 24 hours after his team lost at Notre Dame in late January, Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski made the decision to dismiss guard Rasheed Sulaimon from the program. It was a decision that caught many by surprise given the timing, not to mention the fact that it limited the Blue Devils to an eight-man rotation.

Sure enough Duke was able to ride that eight-man rotation to the program’s fifth national title, with a trio of freshmen (Jahlil Okafor, Tyus Jones and Justise Winslow) and senior guard Quinn Cook leading the way. Since Sulaimon’s dismissal neither he nor the program had discussed the situation until Wednesday, when the player spoke with ESPN.com about the situation.

Among the topics discussed was an allegation that Sulaimon had sexually assaulted two female students (on separate occasions), something Sulaimon vehemently denied. Sulaimon was never charged for either alleged incident, with an investigation into one of the allegations not even resulting in a student board hearing and the second not resulting a meeting between Sulaimon and Duke’s Office of Student Conduct.

“Me being dismissed from the team had nothing to do with this allegation,” Sulaimon said in his first public comments since being dismissed by coach Mike Krzyzewski. He did not specify what the reason was, though he said he was frustrated and could have handled the situation better.

“I have never sexually assaulted, not only anyone on the Duke campus, but anyone period,” he said. “It’s not in my nature at all. I have great respect for the role of women in society. I would never demean or do anything to a woman in this manner. No, I’ve never done anything like this in my life.”

Also discussed in the story was Sulaimon’s support of his former teammates during their run to the national title, as well as a phone call with his father following the title game in which the guard acknowledged that he “could have been a part of something that was bigger than me.” ESPN.com also reported that “more than a dozen” schools have reached out to Sulaimon this spring.

Arizona State, Baylor, Colorado, George Washington, Houston, LSU, Maryland, Memphis, Oklahoma State, Seton Hall, SMU, Texas, Texas Southern and Texas A&M are among the schools that reached out to Sulaimon according to the report. Still in school at Duke, Sulaimon expects to graduate in August and that would then mean immediate eligibility at his next school.