Nov 12, 2013; Chicago, IL, USA; Duke Blue Devils guard Rasheed Sulaimon (14) is defended by Kansas Jayhawks guard Frank Mason (0) in the second half at United Center. Kansas won 94-83. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

Duke G Rasheed Sulaimon off to rocky start in sophomore year

After an impressive freshman campaign in which he dazzled the nation with an array of offensive skills, Rasheed Sulaimon has seen his fair share of ups and downs early on in his second season with the Duke Blue Devils.

Tyler Thornton snagged the other starting guard spot opposite of Quinn Cook that was expected to be handed to Sulaimon, and ever since, the 6-foot-4 combo guard from Houston has been a completely different player. During his freshman season, Sulaimon averaged 11,6 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 1.9 assists in a shade over 29 minutes per contest. This season has been a far cry from what was expected of him. In just over 22 minutes per game, Sulaimon is posting 7.1 points, 2.5 rebounds, and 1.5 assists on a nightly basis.

Those numbers do not tell the entire story, however. In 2012, Sulaimon shot 42.4% from the field, including an impressive 37.1% clip from three-point distance. After coming off the bench for eight games for the Blue Devils in 2013, he has managed to shoot a mere 36.2% from the field, and his three-pointing shooting has dipped significantly to 31.3%.

Clearly, something is not right with Sulaimon in his sophomore campaign. Coach Mike Krzyzewski made Sulaimon a healthy scratch for Duke’s match-up with the Michigan Wolverines on December 3. According to Andy Katz of ESPN, the decision was made due to Sulaimon’s lack of preparation for games and performance during practice.

Sulaimon will be back on the court for the Blue Devils; there are no concerns about that. In fact, Duke needs their sophomore guard to be a key contributor in order to make the deep tournament run that their roster is geared for come March. With Jabari Parker, Quinn Cook, and Rodney Hood carrying much of the offensive load, a producing Sulaimon could prove as crucial as anyone to the team’s success.

Tags: Duke Blue Devils Jabari Parker Mike Krzyzewski Quinn Cook Rasheed Sulaimon Rodney Hood Tyler Thornton

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