A Coach K first: Duke’s Rasheed Sulaimon dismissed from program

SHARE A Coach K first: Duke’s Rasheed Sulaimon dismissed from program

Rasheed Sulaimon is a former five-star recruit whose productivity has waned since his freshman season. (Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

Four days after Mike Krzyzewski’s first-of-its-kind 1,000th victory, the Duke coach experienced a career first: dismissing a player from his program.

That player was Blue Devils junior Rasheed Sulaimon, once a top national recruit but more recently, according to some insiders, a disgruntled non-starter. After a terrific freshman season during which he averaged 11.6 points per game, Sulaimon’s production and playing time slowly declined over his sophomore and junior campaigns. Sulaimon and his coach reportedly were at loggerheads over the player’s negative body language and disinclination to support teammates from the bench. That might have been only one of the factors that led Kryzewski to say goodbye to a former five-star swingman from Houston, who the school says remains in good academic standing.

“Rasheed has been unable to consistently live up to the standards required to be a member of our program,” Kryzewski said in a statement. “It is a privilege to represent Duke University, and with that privilege comes the responsibility to conduct oneself in a certain manner. After Rasheed repeatedly struggled to meet the necessary obligations, it became apparent that it was time to dismiss him from the program.”

Sulaimon is an excellent long-range shooter who would seem to still have an opportunity to pursue his loftiest basketball goals. His dismissal might not hurt Duke much, though, if at all. Jahlil Okafor, Tyus Jones, Quin Cook, Justise Winslow and Amile Jefferson all were bringing more to the table than Sulaimon — and buying into the team-first mentality that Krzyzewski insists upon.

If the descriptions of Sulaimon’s attitude are accurate, it also casts No. 1 Kentucky in an ever more flattering light. Never in college basketball has a team featured so many blue-chip recruits being asked to sacrifice so much playing time and individual spotlight as is the case with the Wildcats, who employ a five-man-platoon system and have no one averaging more than 11.6 points per game.

Email: sgreenberg@suntimes.com

Twitter: @slgreenberg

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