Duke forsaken a bombshell on a sports amicable media universe Thursday afternoon, as word pennyless that a propagandize discharged youth sharpened ensure Rasheed Sulaimon from a Blue Devils’ basketball program.
According to Adam Rowe of 247Sports.com, conduct manager Mike Krzyzewski said, “After Rasheed regularly struggled to accommodate a required obligations, it became apparent that it was time to boot him from a program.”
None of us saw this coming, yet maybe we should have.
After a Dec. 3 win over Michigan final deteriorate in that Sulaimon did not play a singular minute, Tyler Thornton told Laura Keeley of The News Observer: “As a man, he has to step adult and accept what he needs to do. We need him. That’s all we can unequivocally contend about that.”
That was a initial pointer that this was some-more than usually a slight damage or a preference done by Krzyzewski formed on a upsurge of a game. When one of a group captains calls we out for not being adequate of a man, there’s some arrange of behavioral problem going on.
Karl B DeBlaker/Associated Press
Sulaimon played in any successive diversion of a deteriorate and unequivocally became an constituent partial of a offense, scoring in double total in 17 of Duke’s final 24 games, including 21 in a large win over Virginia and 20 in a competition detriment to Mercer.
We never schooled what indeed led to his mark in Coach K’s doghouse, yet a integrate of games there seemed to offer him well. And for a third true November, we were awaiting large things from Sulaimon.
However, he never found his niche in this year’s rotation. He played unchanging mins yet always seemed out of place—not so many his descent or defensive positioning on a court, yet he possibly didn’t have a tangible purpose or willfully refused to adopt it.
A small over dual weeks ago, Sam Vecenie of CBSSports.com had this to contend about Sulaimon‘s purpose on a team:
I’m flattering many during a indicate where we don’t know that Rasheed Sulaimon should see a building for Duke.
— Sam Vecenie (@Sam_Vecenie) January 14, 2015
As it turns out, though, it was his fit outward of games that was apropos a bigger issue. ESPN’s Jeff Goodman quoted a source close to a Duke module as saying: “It was an accumulation of a whole lot of residue. It had built adult over time. His issues didn’t transcend his talent.”
Seth Davis of Sports Illustrated and CBS Sports combined this note on Sulaimon‘s stretched attribute with Coach K:
Coach K has tossed Sulaimon from use a few times this season. Sulaimon played 12 mins, shot 1-6 fg in detriment to NDame.
— Seth Davis (@SethDavisHoops) January 29, 2015
Maybe we’ll find out some-more sum behind a preference in a entrance hours, days or weeks yet maybe not. We frequency get definite explanations when players are dangling or discharged for violations of group rules.
Regardless, as ESPN’s Andy Katz tweeted, Duke is entrance off a detriment and about to play arguably a many formidable diversion of a season, so it’s time to pierce on though Sulaimon:
Duke loses during Notre Dame, Rasheed Sulaimon gone, during Virginia next. This is a time to see what this group is done of and how it will react.
— Andy Katz (@ESPNAndyKatz) January 29, 2015
If there’s good news in all of this for Duke, it’s that Sulaimon was a slightest profitable descent arms in a rotation. According to KenPom.com, his 104.6 descent rating was a lowest among Blue Devils who played during slightest 12 mins this season.
Sulaimon was a some-more profitable fringe defender than Tyus Jones or Quinn Cook, yet that’s not accurately observant much.
USA TODAY Sports
The oppressive existence is that if Duke had to remove one of a 7 players averaging during slightest 10 mins per diversion (with during slightest 20 games played), Sulaimon was a many unessential one. There competence be an composition period, yet some-more mins for Matt Jones and Grayson Allen should be a good thing in a prolonged run.
Frankly, we’ve been wondering for a prolonged time because Allen can’t seem to get any personification time. He seemed to play good early in a deteriorate opposite a likes of Presbyterian, Fairfield, Furman and Army, yet a three-point murderer who won a McDonald’s All-American impact asperse competition never got anything tighten to a possibility that a other 3 freshmen on this register received.
Allen has averaged usually 2.8 mins per diversion given a finish of November, yet that’s fundamentally going to change on a register that now has usually 8 grant players. He indeed ranks second on a group in points per 40 mins (18.4), yet many of that personification time came in low-leverage situations opposite weak opponents.
It will be fun to see what happens when he all yet fundamentally plays a handful of essential mins during Virginia on Saturday. Whether he can hoop that form of effort might foreordain where Duke goes from here.
While there should be confidence surrounding Allen and Matt Jones’ increasing involvement, keep in mind that Coach K already hadn’t many cared to get his dais concerned this season, and it has had small impact on Duke’s success.
Starters scored 68 of 73 points on Wednesday night opposite Notre Dame. Two weeks ago opposite Louisville, all 5 starters played during slightest 31 minutes, and Matt Jones’ 6 points were a usually ones that came from a bench.
In a 66-56 win over Connecticut progressing this season, dais players scored precisely 0 points.
Because he was a McDonald’s All-American and once regarded as a expected first-round breeze pick, Sulaimon’s exclusion substantially feels like a bigger blow to Duke’s pretension hopes than it indeed is.
The male with 1,000 career wins should find a approach to scrupulously divvy adult those mins and have this group competing for a pretension again though blank a beat.
Kerry Miller covers college basketball for Bleacher Report. You can follow him on Twitter: @kerrancejames.