Simply Duke Basketball – Point/CounterPoint: Considering Rasheed Sulaimon’s Future

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In this Installment of Point/CounterPoint, Bermuda Bob and Rowan Shiell discuss Rasheed Sulaimon’s possible future options.  

Query #1

Rasheed has steadfastly denied that he committed a sexual assault.  He has been continued as a student in good standing at Duke and is on track to graduate in August.  Do you think he can put this behind him and reach his dream of the NBA ??? 

Bermuda Bob

I was happy to see that he was allowed to continue his education, which he has, and will graduate in August with a valuable Duke Diploma.  I think this has been the smartest way for him to proceed.  As for the NBA, he was a projected 1st Round choice as a Freshman, and if he falls with the right programme, and plays with the intensity he did as a Frosh, he’ll get his chance someday.


Everyone loves a redemption story and Sulaimon still has time to right his life, but don’t get it twisted, the damage is done. Once you are tagged with sexual assault that never leaves you. The worst of it is he never had his day in Court. It’s not like Chris Jones (of Louisville) did recently when a Grand Jury cleared him of all charges.

Then there is Coach K, who has remained silent in all this. Sure Duke nor Coach K may be able to comment on private proceedings, but he could clear up why he dismissed Sulaimon. Was it as the player stated – he got frustrated and allowed his contempt to manifest itself in a negative way – or was it due to the allegations ??? Being the first player that the legendary coach has dismissed, publicly, has got to sting too.

So much food for thought here. Did Coach K realise that he had a championship team on his hand and cut all ties (in the ESPN story it stated that Sulaimon texted Coach K three times since being dismissed but there was no mention of a reply) to a distraction ??? Normally a coach would publicly say something along the lines of “we wish him well in his future” but not in this instance.

Something must have happened after that first Notre Dame loss, after which Sulaimon got his walking papers. In time we will find out. These things always find a way to make its way to the public.

As for the NBA, Sulaimon will have to land in the right situation for that to happen. He is a Senior who got dismissed by the Current USA coach after two lackluster seasons. Putting all emotions aside, Maryland would be the perfect team for him to make a resurgence, but he should probably not expect the set of Duke fans wishing well to support him in this choice.

Query #2

Regarding Rasheed’s steadfast denial, there was never any complaint filed with Law Enforcement, so do you have any thoughts on the “charges” ??? 

Bermuda Bob

I was very uncomfortable with the overly sweeping restrictions that Title IX put on universities.  When the law was announced, everyone was led to believe that it was nothing more than forcing schools to provide girls teams where there were none.  Obviously, the law snuck in plenty to swing the pendulum against equality, and it contributed plenty to this episode.  To this day, the “accuser(s)” have not been identified, nor have they filed formal complaints with anyone.  Someone who refused to step forward, and have the intestinal fortitude to make her “charge” public has besmirched a high profile athlete forever.  Rasheed’s Constitutional Rights to be able to face his accuser(s) have been denied.   Whenever one reads his biography, it will always mention this unfortunate matter.  Title IX has facilitated a faceless person, and Rasheed will forever be maligned.


Initially, I was of the opinion that yes he should be given his day in Court to face his accusers but after reading about Darrell Williams, who was recently cleared of groping two OSU students back in 2012, I am not so sure. Williams was given a Plea Bargain which guaranteed that he would have been back in an OSU uniform immediately, but turned it down, even though everyone told him he should take the deal, only to see himself convicted and sentenced for a crime he felt he did not commit.

Sulaimon should learn to appreciate this second chance he has been given, keep his head down, his nose clean, and carry on with his life.

Query #3

Rasheed has also noted that the allegations of sexual assault did not play a role in his dismissal.  Since the season is over, and Rasheed will be playing elsewhere next year, what do you think he is referring to ??? 

Bermuda Bob

The funny thing is that we were all wondering what put Rasheed in Coach K’s “doghouse” going back to his Sophomore year when he arrived back at Duke, presuming he was going to be continuing as a Starter.   We noted that there was a lot of inconsistencies in the official reasonings made by Duke.  Then, he was set down in his Junior year on the bench.  The sexual assault “charges” fit the reasoning for his dismissal, but I always thought it was because he was not taking being subverted very well.  I know that if it were me, I’d have a very hard time dealing with being subverted to a Freshman recruited behind me, especially after a great Freshman year.  I can only work with what we know.

First, Rasheed claims that Coach K read the official Duke Release to him, and that was it.  I take that as Coach K having to walk a thin line regarding Title IX, but more so that he may have been struggling with having to dismiss his first player ever.

Secondly, we have the recollection of how energized the Duke team was after his dismissal, and how the rally cry of “8 is Enough” worked for them so well.

Somewhere in between those points is the truth.  The good thing is that everything seems to be have shaken out in as positive a way as it could.  Duke won a National Championship, Rasheed will graduate, and he controls his future.


Some people have speculated that Duke must have known about the story being about to break, so cut all ties with the player. This is pure speculation because we knew that prior to the dismissal, Sulaimon was not playing right. In the two early season losses to Miami and NC State, he was 9-of-26 on Field Goals. His body language was very negative and he had become a “gunner.”

In the Notre Dame game he took 6 Shots and made one in 12 minutes of action. Before this, he was averaging just over 20 minutes per game. Coach K did the right thing benching him. What happened leading up to the press conference informing us of the dismissal is anyones guess. Just know this Coach K was right to bench him.

Query #4

There are a number of schools that seem to believe that he can play a valuable role with them.  Ironically one is former ACC rival, Maryland, another is Bobby Hurley’s new Arizona State, then Memphis, Baylor, and Texas A&M.  

Where do you think he fits best and why ???

Bermuda Bob

Rasheed is a known commodity when his head is in the right place.  He needs to go someplace where his leadership both in the Locker Room and on the Court will be optimized, that is presuming he can resurrect the guy we knew a few years ago.  I don’t know who needs him most, but if Bobby Hurley or Mark Turgeon is interested, he will have a tough choice as both coaches can give Rasheed the chance to contribute right away.  The other schools mentioned can’t do that …


As I pointed out earlier Maryland has a strong team that should contend in the Big Ten, next season. They will be a projected to the Final Four with Sulaimon. Melo Trimble is back, and with Diamond Stone’s commitment, Sulaimon will give them some toughness that graduated with Dez Wells.

He should stay away from Memphis. Too many talented players have gone there and disappeared during Josh Pastner’s time there. The other options are viable. NC State might even be a very good fit with Trevor Lacey recently entering the draft, that is if he is allowed to attend another ACC school. 

Query 5

In the ESPN Article Sulaimon was asked why he did not transfer and he had this to say: I wanted to be at Duke,” he said. “I dreamed about it my whole life. Even though I was frustrated, I wanted to be at Duke. My parents didn’t raise a quitter.”

Is it considered quitting to leave when the coach’s vision and yours do not align ??? 

Bermuda Bob:

Well, if they were asking why he didn’t transfer immediately, that’s easy … He understood the value of a Duke education, plus he would then need to sit out a year. If he continued with his studies, he could fully matriculate, and then be eligible to play some place else next year.

If the question was about what happened to him when he returned to Duke for his Sophomore year, then I have to believe Coach K must have either sweet-talked him, or challenged him to get his spot back.

Personally, even though Duke just won a National Championship in a very un-Duke way, I can’t imagine what must go thru a kid’s head when he sees a Freshman recruited to a position he earned the previous year. I know I would not want to see it happen to my son !!!

It has to be noted that Rasheed was not the first kid who had to deal with being subverted to a Frosh. Coach K allowed it to happen first with Kyrie Irving, then Austin “Da Black Hole” Rivers, then Jabari Parker, and then this year. We could get into a long conversation about the morality and ethics of doing this, but unless and until the “one-and-done” is eradicated, this type of stuff will remain.

I’m glad Rasheed will get a second chance, it is up to him to turn heads, change minds, and change his destiny. I wish him well, and will be rooting for him. 


Rasheed said he spoke with Coach K and his parents after his Freshman season, then went back to college. I wonder what Coach K said to him then to make him come back ?!? Anyway after looking at a projected 1st Round selection in the NBA Draft, it would have been a severe blow to transfer and sit out a year before playing again.

I understand that but what’s the alternative ??? Working your butt off only to see your minutes go to someone else then becoming disgruntled and even worse … disgraced nationally ??? Hindsight is a wonderful thing but sometimes the hardest decision is the best decision.

Rasheed wasn’t the only player affected by Coach K’s new recruiting strategy. Quinn Cook had to suffer through his demons. After returning as the leading scorer, his Junior season, he wasn’t even made a Captain or a designated Starter. Cook dismissed transfer options and became a Starter and a leader. Then his Senior season, he saw the arrival of Tyus Jones to take his Starting spot. No problem. Cook became a very serviceable and valuable component on a championship team.

Will that help Cook as a professional ??? Has he sacrificed millions for this ??? At this point we can’t say, but he is now a Champion and will graduate from Duke.

Sulaimon’s immaturity and frustrations may have gotten the best of him, however he still can make things right.


A Very Special “Thank You” to “Zoe in England” (@9erDevilBlazer) for this great piece of artwork to celebrate Rasheed’s time at Duke …


Thanks for reading !!!

As always, we welcome your comments either here or at our Twitter site:


2 thoughts on “Simply Duke Basketball – Point/CounterPoint: Considering Rasheed Sulaimon’s Future

  1. Good article. It makes you think that all teams will have to protect their players at all times in public and private settings. A player will not be allowed anywhere, even on a date, unless they have an accountability partner with them.


    • Hi Bill !!!
      Thanks for the nice sentiment !!!
      I agree with you … School have such an investment in their kids that it’s almost like they need something between a chaperone and Private Detective to have eyes on the kids always.
      I’m honestly of the opinion that this aspect (that no one knew was slipped in) of Title IX is to blame. It is blatantly unconstitutional to not be able to face your accuser …
      Now, if his problems were attitudinal, then let’s hope he takes advantage of his a fresh start …

      Rock On !!!
      Bermuda Bob


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