When Duke announced that guard Rasheed Sulaimon had been dismissed from the program one day after losing a close game at Notre Dame in late January, it was a move that caught many by surprise. In the aftermath of the decision theories (allegations of sexual assault that went unfounded) floated around in regards to why Sulaimon was dismissed, with the player himself keeping quiet about the entire situation.
Duke would go on to win the national title last season, with Sulaimon completing his undergraduate degree in the summer shortly after announcing that he would play his final season at Maryland. And earlier this week, Sulaimon’s mother Angela made her first comments on the situation in a story written by Don Markus of the Baltimore Sun.
In her view, Rasheed’s fear of “what might happen” led to his keeping quiet about the circumstances surrounding his dismissal from the Duke program. She also made note of the sexual assault allegations and opined that Krzyzewski “didn’t want to deal with,” thus remaining focused on the season.
Angela Sulaimon said Monday — in her first public comments since her son was dismissed by Krzyzewski — that she believes the allegations of sexual assault played a part in the coach’s decision.
“He didn’t want to deal with it. He wanted to go on with the season,” Angela Sulaimon said of Krzyzewski. “But there was no record, there were no formal charges. Nobody said, ‘Yes, he did it.’ The Duke newspaper tried to call me and one of them said, ‘Why can’t we talk to you and get your side of the story? Maybe we made a mistake with Rasheed.’ But I never answered.”
Part of the “fear” cited by Angela Sulaimon is the fact that Rasheed’s former college coach has so much influence within the basketball world. Not only is he a five-time national champion and Hall of Famer, but Krzyzewski is also head coach of the United States Mens Basketball Team and will move into a consulting role following the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Add in his relationships with many NBA executives, and doing anything but fade quietly into the background could have been viewed as costly from the Sulaimon family’s perspective.
At this point Sulaimon’s simply moving forward with his career, focusing on a final season of college basketball on a team talented enough to win the national title. And if watching his former teammates cut down the nets last spring serves as nay kind of motivation for Sulaimon, it will only help Maryland in reaching its ultimate goal.