Maryland announced on Monday that former Duke guard Rasheed Sulaimon will be transferring into the program to finish his college basketball career.
“I am extremely grateful to the University of Maryland and Coach Turgeon for this opportunity to further my education and continue to play the game I love,” Sulaimon said. “I’m looking forward to starting this next chapter at Maryland.”
The addition of Sulaimon will likely vault Maryland into the top of every preseason poll. The Terps were No. 4 in our preseason top 25 prior to Sulaimon’s commitment; they’re No. 2 in the country, behind only North Carolina, with him. With potential all-american point guard Melo Trimble and senior wing Jake Layman returning, Georgia Tech transfer Robert Carter becoming eligible and top ten recruit Diamond Stone entering the program, the Terps have as much talent in their starting lineup as anyone in the country.
Throw in role players like Jared Nickens, Dion Wiley and Michal Cevosky coming off the bench, and this will undoubtedly be the most talented team that Mark Turgeon has ever coached.
And Sulaimon appears to be the missing piece at the off-guard spot, at least on paper. He’s a talented scorer with three point range that can defend on the perimeter. As a freshman, Sulaimon looked like a future lottery pick, averaging 11.6 points.
But he quickly fell out of favor with the Duke coaching staff. As a sophomore, he was relegated to coming off the bench. As a junior, his minutes decreased even more, and he eventually become the first player to ever be dismissed by Mike Krzyzewski at Duke. When Sulaimon got tossed, the Blue Devils only got better, eventually going on to win the 2015 national title.
That’s concerning for the Terps because, at best, Sulaimon is going to have to be a role player on this team. Trimble will be the star, the leading scorer, the guy that always has the ball in his hands. Carter will be their interior presence, while Stone is the kind of versatile front court talent that should thrive in pick-and-roll and pick-and-pop actions.
Like he was at Duke this season, Sulaimon is going to be a piece in this lineup, a third or fourth option offensively that will be asked to hit threes, defend and be a threat to score 15 or 20 points on the nights that Maryland’s offensive drags to a halt.
Was the public shaming that Sulaimon went through enough to teach him a lesson? Will he be able to buy into a role at Maryland that he wasn’t able to accept the last two seasons at Duke? Or will he revert to his old ways if and when he doesn’t find immediate success?