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Maryland is recruiting Rasheed Sulaimon. Here's what that could mean.

Maryland wants the dismissed Duke wing, per reports. That leaves a lot to think about.

Mark Dolejs-USA TODAY Sports

On Tuesday morning, News & Observer reporter Joe Giglio reported what's been whispered about for weeks – that the Maryland basketball program is recruiting dismissed Duke player Rasheed Sulaimon. ESPN's Andy Katz confirmed that Maryland is in on Sulaimon. Katz's confirmation is enough to say with certainty that Maryland wants Sulaimon in College Park. And make no mistake: The Terps desire Sulaimon for what looks to be a loaded 2015-16 roster.

Sulaimon is a supremely talented player. He was one of the bluest of Mike Krzyzewski's blue-chip recruits before the 2012 season, a five-star guard and wing who's since averaged 10 points, 2.7 rebounds and 2 assists per game in parts of three seasons for the Blue Devils. Though he's a career 39-percent three-point shooter, Sulaimon never reached his projected potential on a deep Duke team. But he was a highly effective player for parts of three seasons.

Earlier this year, in the midst of what became a national championship season, Krzyzewski made Sulaimon the first player he's ever dismissed in 35 years as Duke's head coach. In March, the Duke Chronicle – Durham's student newspaper – reported that Sulaimon was the subject of two separate sexual-assault inquires at the university. The Chronicle reported that Duke athletic administrators had known of the accusations against Sulaimon in March 2014, but Sulaimon kept playing until this past January, when Coach K cut him loose.

"Rasheed has been unable to consistently live up to the standards required to be a member of our program," Krzyzewski said in Duke's press release. "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's lawyer told The Chronicle he believed the sexual-assault allegations were false. Sulaimon was never charged, either by local police or in the university's internal judiciary. Currently a junior, Sulaimon has remained enrolled at Duke. If he can graduate prior to next season, he'll be immediately eligible at whichever school takes him. Sulaimon would otherwise have to sit out a year, but that seems unlikely: An NBA prospect like Sulaimon is not going to sit out what amounts to a full year and a half in college before playing a delayed senior year and trying to go pro. That would be a death knell to his draft stock. If Sulaimon cannot play college basketball next year, it would be surprising if he ever played it again.

So, enter Maryland.

The Terps will be good next year. Really, really good, even. They are a consensus top-five team in early rankings. They will have Melo Trimble, Jake Layman, Diamond Stone, Robert Carter and a cavalry of high-end players who will face Final Four-or-bust expectations. They missed out on Drexel transfer Damion Lee, but Sulaimon's probably even better than Lee. On the court, Sulaimon would be the cherry atop what already looks like a delicious Terrapin sundae. He could make Maryland the National Paper Champion before a single game is played, even if Maryland would be great without him.

That's all pretty simple. The rest of this situation is anything but.

As Maryland works to add Sulaimon, let's tick off a few critical points:

1. Anyone accused of a crime is innocent until proven guilty. And for what it's worth, Sulaimon hasn't so much as been charged with a crime. The Chronicle is a worthy journalistic outlet and reports he was accused twice, but there's been no substantive legal action taken against him. He does not appear to be on the verge of prosecution.

2. Sulaimon's case is not the same as Dez Wells's. Maryland added a previously dismissed player accused of a sexual assault just three years ago, when Wells came to College Park after Xavier expelled him. On every level, these are different cases, so no one should use Wells as a guidepost for how Maryland should handle Sulaimon. Wells faced a single accuser who ultimately recanted after Xavier hastily tried him, in a process legal experts later panned. The Chronicle reported Sulaimon had multiple accusers, but he never faced university discipline like Wells did. That Maryland brought in Wells does not mean Sulaimon merits the same treatment.

3. Only a few people know the full truth about Sulaimon's actions. Presumably, Maryland doesn't have any of these people on its payroll. Mark Turgeon cannot know with certainty what Sulaimon did, and neither can Kevin Anderson. Duke didn't feel comfortable keeping Sulaimon in its basketball program, but that doesn't conclusively mean he did wrong. On the other hand, Maryland cannot be sure he didn't. The people in charge don't know, and that either makes Sulaimon extremely misfortunate or a huge risk for Maryland and the surrounding community. Which one is the reality? If I said I knew for sure, I'd be lying. So would anyone else.

Maryland has worked hard to modernize its approach to combatting sexual assault over the past few years. The university has installed mandatory online training for all of its students and has a handful of anti-violence groups and clubs geared toward making the campus safer for women (and men). Sexual assaults are an enormous and terrifying problem at American colleges. Whatever Maryland does, it had better be positive it isn't making that problem worse. To do so would be Maryland's greatest shame, no matter how good Sulaimon is at shooting basketballs.

If Sulaimon decides to come to Maryland, Turgeon and his staff somehow need to be incredibly sure they're making a smart addition – not just to the Terps' backcourt, but to College Park and a sprawling university community with 40,000 students. The stakes there are greater than anything Maryland faces on the hardwood.