Maryland Basketball: Sulaimon’s Impact Will be Great


Jan 3, 2015; Durham, NC, USA; Duke Blue Devils guard Rasheed Sulaimon (14) reacts after scoring a three-point shot against the Boston College Eagles in their game at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark Dolejs-USA TODAY Sports

There are plenty of improbable things that have happened in the world of sports over the years. However, who would’ve suspected that a former star for the Duke Blue Devils would now be suiting up for the Maryland Terrapins? The Terps won’t complain, however, as they may have just landed the player who can solidify their national championship hopes.

Back in January, the Duke basketball program announced that they would be dismissing junior guard Rasheed Sulaimon from the program for non-academic reasons. On Monday, Sulaimon announced he would be playing for Maryland in the upcoming season.

There was already no love lost between these two programs, but this move will only add more fuel to the fire. Although, Maryland is no longer in the ACC, I’m sure it stings no less for Blue Devil fans that one of their once beloved will now play for a former conference foe.

Sulaimon’s dismissal from Duke couldn’t have come at a better time for the Terrapins. In their inaugural season in the Big Ten, Mark Turgeon’s squad well-exceeded expectations, winning 28 games and reaching the second round of the 2015 NCAA Tournament. The Terps are returning two of their stars from a season ago in point guard Melo Trimble and forward Jake Layman. They also landed one of the most highly-coveted prospects in the Class of 2015 in center Diamond Stone. The roster also  inlcudes a host of other talented returners and transfers, but with Sulaimon in the fold, it may be championship or bust for Maryland.

Some may be weary of the way Sulaimon was just shockingly let go by Duke, but don’t be fooled. This was not a move based on his skills as a basketball player. Sulaimon showed flashes in his freshman season, averaging 11.6 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 1.9 assists per game. However, he definitely had his share of struggles adjusting to a reduced role in Durham, losing the spotlight to more talented players like Jabari Parker, Justise Winslow, and Quinn Cook. He’ll now have the opportunity to revive his career on another team with championship aspirations. 

More from Maryland Terrapins

Maryland is getting a very talented a player in Sulaimon. He has the tools to be a pretty good offensive player, but he has lacked consistency in the past. Fortunately for both parties, he won’t need to be counted on for much offense with the bevy of scorers the Terps have at their disposal. Where Sulaimon will really thrive is on the defensive end. At 6-foot-5, he has both the length and the athleticism to be a defensive stopper and he will most likely be called upon to guard the opposing team’s best perimeter player each time out.

What a luxury it has to be for Coach Turgeon to get a player of this caliber and not have to rely on him to do too much. It is definitely an unfamiliar feeling for him. When asked about Sulaimon, he responded saying, “He wanted a chance to win at the highest level. He’s a piece that fits what we’re doing here — both personality-wise and on the court. He’ll add leadership. We had other options, but we felt like Rasheed was the best one.” 

Sulaimon was undoubtedly a steal for the Maryland basketball program because no one would’ve guessed that he’d be in College Park next season. Regardless of how it happened, this is great for the athletic program as a whole.

A team that was once considered a preseason top-five team, should now be looked at as a national championship front-runner.

Next: Stefon Diggs in Good Position with Vikings