Rasheed Sulaimon will fight for a roster spot alongside two other Maryland teammates this summer in the NBA summer league in Las Vegas.
The former Maryland Terrapin forward joins 2015 graduates Dez Wells and Evan Smotrycz to compete for a chance to get into the NBA. After watching Diamond Stone and Jake Layman each get drafted and Robert Carter Jr immediately signing with the Golden State Warriors after the draft, Wells, Smotrycz and Sulaimon are going to look for their shot.
With Melo Trimble staying in Maryland, Rasheed Sulaimon remains as the only starter to not have his immediate future planned out. While the Chicago Bulls signed him as an undrafted free agent, his future is still up in the air. Carter Jr. too will battle for his chance on the Golden State Warrior's roster this summer, leaving some uncertainty to his future. The surprise Sweet 16 team will go down as an all-time great Maryland class if all five starters land NBA careers.
Sulaimon finished with the lowest scoring and rebounding averages among the starters in 2016, but his assist numbers (3.5 per game) put him only behind point guard Melo Trimble for the most on the team. He finished with the highest three-point percentage (minimum 75 attempts) for Maryland and clocked in a solid 46 field goal shooting percentage alongside 75 percent at the charity stripe.
Dez Wells will work alongside him as they will play for the Chicago Bulls this summer. Wells graduated in 2015 after posting solid scoring numbers in his three years with Maryland. As a sophomore he averaged 13.1 points on 53 field goal percentage, and despite a slight dip in his shooting percentage, he brought his scoring up to 15 per game in his last two seasons. He was soon named to the First Team All-Big Ten team. Those scoring numbers would have ranked as the highest on the 2016 team over Melo Trimble.
Unfortunately it wasn't enough for him to make any headway in the aggressive NBA. He fell undrafted just like Sulaimon, but after being signed and waived by the Washington Wizards, the Oklahoma City Thunder's D-league team (Oklahoma City Blue) gave him a second shot. The partnership did not last long as he was waived five months later.
It seems eerily similar that Sulaimon's career could follow in Wells' footsteps, but this summer could change everything. Wells was cut due to reoccurring injury issues he faced since his senior year of college. Health is one of the biggest factors that can determine a successful career in the league.
Evan Smotrycz stands as the third Maryland athlete to compete in the summer league. A former teammate to Dez Wells, Smotrycz put up a respectable 11 points and 6 rebounds in 28 minutes on 40 percent shooting. But his senior year collapsed with disappointing drops across the board due to injuries. He averaged 4.7 points on 32 percent shooting with 4.1 rebounds in 19 minutes per game.
The drop off caused him to go undrafted in the 2015 draft but after playing overseas in Cyprus, his rediscovered his shooting stroke and confidence in the Euroleague with 16 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game. Now his second chance at an NBA career stands with the Toronto Raptors in Vegas this summer.
The summer league will be crowded with Maryland alumni as Diamond Stone and Jake Layman will get their first reps alongside undrafted pickup Robert Carter Jr. Now Smotrycz, Wells and Sulaimon will join the summer herd to salvage or begin a professional NBA career to thoroughly represent the Maryland basketball program.