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It wouldn’t be a Gary Williams segment without a little bit of dry humor at the beginning, which is what the Hall of Fame coach did Monday on CSN while discussing the transfer of former Duke guard Rasheed Sulaimon to Maryland.
“When I was coaching,” he said with a smirk, “you couldn’t transfer within the ACC, so you didn’t have to worry about that.”
But thanks to realignment, that once unthought-of shift can occur and Sulaimon is now the newest member of the Terrapins.
As Williams went on to analyze the signing, he said Maryland is undoubtedly getting a talented player but that’s not the biggest piece of the situation.
“What you want is somebody to come in and give you something that you don’t have, a piece of the puzzle that might put you over the top,” he said.
“Maryland returns a very good basketball team. Without Sulaimon, they’d be picked Top 5 in the country for sure. The question becomes what does he add to the team and can he make them better?”
From all indications, it seems as though the answer is yes.
By bringing in Sulaimon, Maryland now has a defensive stopper on the wing that it lost with the graduations of Dez Wells and, to a lesser extent, Richaud Pack.
Whatever scoring Sulaimon provides is an added benefit to the defense Maryland expects him to bring against likely the opposition’s best scorer every night.
Then there’s the other piece of the equation. Sulaimon was dismissed from Duke. Maryland is a team whose chemistry made up for some major holes last season. How will they mesh?
“As long as he can add to the chemistry or keep the chemistry the game, it’s a positive thing,” Williams said.
“Teams are funny. Talent’s really important, but chemistry’s very important. The way you play when it comes to big games and things get tough at the end, your chemistry has a lot to do with whether you win those games or not because if you trust each other, that’s the most important thing.”