Sulaimon: "It Was An Incredible Weekend"

Heading into his unofficial visit Rasheed Sulaimon admitted there were some nerves. Fast forward two days and the five star Houston area guard has a really good idea of what it's like being a Blue Devil.

"Friday I had a chance to get up there and meet with the coaches and tour the campus," said Rasheed Sulaimon. "We jumped into it early on with the tour. The fans were just crazy from start to finish. The atmosphere at Countdown to Craziness was just amazing. There was a real energy around the whole place. It was incredible."

Sulaimon spent time on campus with sophomore scoring guard Andre Dawkins, but also was shown the sights and sounds of Duke by assistant coach Nate James, both of whom drew their fair share of fans. As the current members of the program were signing autographs and posing for pictures, Rasheed got a glimpse of what it's like being a Blue Devil.

"Before the event I was with Coach James and he stopped to take some pictures and sign autographs for a couple of people. They were talking with him and I was just kind of in the background. Then, all of a sudden, this guy knew who I was and asked me to take a picture with his kids and to sign a ball for him. It kind of caught me off guard because I haven't made it anywhere and these fans knew who I was and were treating me like a celebrity. Coach James just laughed and said 'I told you' afterwards."

A similar experience happened after the event ended late Friday night as Sulaimon was walking with Dawkins.

"Andre was signing and taking pictures and all of a sudden some guys had a poster of me. I have no idea where they got it, but it was blown up and they asked me to sign it and take a picture with their kids. It was crazy. It was a wow moment for me."

Between the celebrity reception amongst the Cameron Crazies, Sulaimon got to experience another defining moment.

"The ring and banner ceremony was great. I got to see a preview of the rings before they did the presentation. To see a National Championship ring was incredible. Mason [Plumlee] let me try it on and it's just incredible. It makes me want to get to college so I can try to win one. Those things were really heavy."

As for the Blue-White game itself, Sulaimon had something in common with the rest of the recruits who lined the bleachers behind Coach K's bench - the opportunity to listen as Krzyzewski coached and chatted up the various players. Current and potential.

"We were all right there in the same area, so whenever Coach K would turn around and talk to Austin, Quinn, or any of us he was making eye contact with everyone. He would turn and talk about the players and what they were trying to do. It was a good place to be."

With the team this year they are going to be so fast. Their guards are absolutely loaded. Kyrie was incredible to watch. So was Seth Curry, Nolan Smith, Andre [Dawkins], Tyler Thornton, and Singler is probably going to play some two guard as well. Their backcourt is deadly and probably one of the best in the country."

If Friday night was about the rewards of a great season, Saturday was about the work it takes to make a great season.

"I got to watch practice on Saturday morning. It was really intense. They went hard. The intensity level was incredible. These guys are on the same team, but every drill it was like they were all playing for a championship. Everything they did was quick. All of their drills were short lines. They would do something and then have a break for one person before doing it again."

"There were three sections. The first was all about the offense. The second was the defense. The last one was kind of pulling it all together and scrimmaging. They didn't get a lot of breaks and everything was done at a really high tempo. You could see the determination in everything they did."

Though a formal scholarship offer has yet to be confirmed, Rasheed says his conversation with head coach Mike Krzyzewski and assistant Nate James suggests that, at some point, an offer will materialize.

"They want to get me back out here with my parents and they are going to come see me play this season. My high school team has a tournament in D.C. so that's probably going to be when they do it."

After practice Sulaimon caught a flight home to Houston. On the way he had a chance to reflect on his experience and what he'd tell his parents when they picked up him. So what were his lasting memories of the whirlwind visit?

"I have two really. The first was meeting Coach K in person. I had talked to him on the phone, but meeting him in person was different. The first thing he said to me was 'I'm glad to see you'. I kind of stopped and did a double take. That should have been reversed. Here is this legend who has just won a National Title, a Gold Medal, a World Championship, and a Conference Title coming into the room and he's excited to see me? That should have been the other way around."

"The second memory will be just being in Cameron in person with that kind of atmosphere. It was just a tremendous experience and one I will never forget."

Sulaimon is rated as the nation's No. 3 shooting guard in the class of 2012 by He is considered a five star prospect and the No. 16 player overall according to the latest rankings.

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