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2016 NBA Draft Breakdown: Rasheed Sulaimon

The former Duke Blue Devil may have worked himself into the second round of the 2016 NBA Draft by stepping in as a leader for the Terrapins in 2015-16.

Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

Former Duke guard Rasheed Sulaimon became the first player under Coach Krzyzewski to be dismissed from the Blue Devil program. After being exiled from Cameron Indoor Stadium, Sulaimon graduated from Duke early giving him one year of eligibility as a graduate transfer. Before arriving at Maryland, the biggest question lingering was his ability to mesh with his new teammates and not serve as a distraction. Not only did he mesh with his teammates, he also served as the team's vocal and emotional leader.

Sulaimon served as the much needed spark to a team looking to advance past the first weekend of the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2003. Sulaimon played his role well, as he averaged 11.3 points, 3.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game and led the Terrapins as their on-court vocal leader. Sulaimon entered his freshman year at Duke as a five-star recruit, so the talent is there, but there are still some questions about how his game translates to the NBA.

Where could the graduate transfer end up in June's NBA Draft?


Sulaimon stepped into College Park and immediately became Maryland's best perimeter defender. He was an integral part in defending the opposition's best wing scorer each game, was supposed to be the role for sophomore guard Dion Wiley before he went down to a season ending knee injury. Shutting down opposing guards is not an easy feat, but Sulaimon was assigned to defend some of the best guards throughout the country.

The former five-star recruit also does a tremendous job creating offense for himself, as well as others. There were multiple times throughout the season where Melo Trimble played off the ball and Sulaimon orchestrated a half court offense to help get Trimble easy looks at the basket. Sulaimon is also dangerous in a fast break setting whether it's filling the lanes or navigating through the defense to find points for himself or others.


Measuring in at only 6-4, Sulaimon will be listed as a tweener in the eyes of NBA scouts. Not having the ideal and natural point guard skills and not having the necessary height for the shooting guard position will make the adjustment to the next level difficult for Sulaimon. Defensively, Sulaimon is most effective due to his energy and intensity, but length at the next level could limit his capabilities as a perimeter defender.

Sulaimon entered his freshman season at 174 pounds, and left College Park at 190 pounds. The 16 pound difference is very impressive in his four year collegiate span, but there is still work to be done if he wishes to physically compete at the next level. Sulaimon has a history of not being able consistent finisher at the rim, so going up against bigger, stronger athletes could be troublesome at the next level.


The chances of Sulaimon ending up in the second round are slim, but there is a stronger chance the Houston (TX) native goes undrafted in June. The intangibles are there, as he stepped into College Park right away and served as the team's vocal leader. There could be a role for him in the right system as a "three and D" player who comes off the bench to provide a defensive presence and the occasional three point shot. Lacking the ideal height of a shooting guard, and the consistent play making abilities of a point guard could cost him a spot in the 2016 draft.