With former Duke guard Rasheed Sulaimon set to transfer to Maryland, made official on Monday afternoon, head coach Mark Turgeon has erased the one possible remaining question mark on his roster sheet.
The graduation of Dez Wells and the continuing development of rising sophomores Dion Wiley and Jared Nickens left Maryland least experienced at the shooting guard spot. Sulaimon fills that need not only offensively, but defensively as well.
During a strong freshman season at Duke, he averaged 11.6 points per game and shot at least 37 percent from three in each of the three seasons he was a Blue Devil.
But offense won’t be the place that Sulaimon is valued most. With Melo Trimble, Jake Layman, Robert Carter, and Diamond Stone rounding out the starting lineup, it’s not essential for him to score the ball. What he does end up contributing offensively only adds more flexibility and versatility.
Where he will be most impactful is as a defender on the wing, replacing Wells as the player tasked with guarding the opposition’s best scorer. Though Wiley and Nickens showed improvement defensively, that would be a lot to ask immediately of one of those two sophomores.
Sulaimon was arguably Duke’s best defender before his dismissal last season, alongside freshman Justise Winslow.
Adding Sulaimon to the starting lineup also allows Maryland to go two-deep at each position.
Junior college guard Jaylen Brantley backs up Trimble at the point. Wiley backs up Sulaimon at shooting guard. Nickens backs up Layman at small forward, then the frontcourt includes Michael Cekovsky, Damonte Dodd, and possibly Ivan Bender, a player who joined the team mid-season last year.
Versatility, depth, and talent together make a team tough to beat, which is why Maryland will be in the discussion for the No. 1 overall team in the nation when the official preseason poll is released.