Until next season starts much of the news surrounding Sulaimon won’t be news at all, rather questions. Can he move on after being dismissed from Duke mid-season? Will he be ok playing on another team with an abundance of talent? How will he get along with Coach Mark Turgeon? Until he takes his first shots at the Xfinity Center, we won’t have these answers.
What we do know is Maryland just added a bright student, tremendous talent, and a likely starter. Sulaimon is a former five-star recruit, was named a McDonald’s All-American in 2012 and selected to the All-ACC academic team his freshman year.
He is known for his range and scores the bulk of his points from deep. He was the ACC’s tenth best three-point shooter last season at 40.4%. The Terps finished fourth in the Big Ten in three-point percentage at 37.2%, and with Sulaimon, it will add another sniper to its platoon.
He shot nearly half (45.2%) of his field goals last season from behind the arc, the highest rate of his career. This increase had a lot to do with spacing around top draft prospect Jahlil Okafor, something Turgeon could mimic around freshman center Diamond Stone.
Sulaimon won’t have to leave his comfort zone in the Terps offense. He isn’t a point guard, and won’t be asked to play one, now that Turgeon added junior college transfer guard Jaylen Brantley to backup phenom Melo Trimble.
As a shooting guard, Sulaimon is accustomed to spreading the floor around other guard talent. This season with Tyus Jones and Quinn Cook, he learned where and how to get his shots off, passing around the perimeter. He’ll fit a similar role alongside Trimble and Jared Nickens.
Sulaimon is also tough to guard as defenders can’t give him too much space. The Terps will force teams to go deep into their bench to guard its surplus of athletic smalls including shifty guards Trimble and Brantley as well as Sulaimon.
Maryland prided itself on defense last season. Kenpom ranked the Terps 40th best in the nation defensively, and Sulaimon should be a decent successor to Dez Wells guarding opposing wings. His 6-foot-7 wingspan is effective in zone defenses, and will be especially useful in Turgeon’s full-court traps.
His sample size is small due to missing the final 19 games of last season and playing limited minutes when he was with the team, but "Stealimon" did take the ball away three times per 100 possessions, better than all Terrapins.
Sulaimon strengthens the Terps backcourt depth, turning Maryland from a top-5 preseason team to potentially the top team. The senior will use his final year as a redemption one, looking to earn a title after missing out on one last season.