Sulaimon Ready For Duke Visit

He's going to be in the house this week for the Duke-North Carolina game on Wednesday. But before he hops on a plane bound for Durham, five star Texas scoring guard Rasheed Sulaimon spoke to TDD.

TDD: How have you adjusted to becoming a nationally known recruit over the last few months? What's the experience been like for you?

Rasheed Sulaimon: It's something I try to take in stride. I take both the positive and the negative that comes with all of it. I can be hard because people will want to say "oh you are like this guy or that guy", and I'm hoping to earn the right to be defined for who I am.

I come from a good, strong Christian family and I recognize that, in all honesty, I'm just a high school basketball player. I haven't made it anywhere yet, so I'm working hard to meet my goals and expectations.

What are those goals and expectations?

In high school I still have some goals that are unfinished. I want to lead my high school team to a District Championship this year and hopefully a State Championship as well.

For college, my goal is to play for a great Division One program, win a National Championship and hopefully be a contributor to the team through hard work and commitment. If I'm blessed to be able to make it to the NBA and play, that is also a goal of mine as well.

You mentioned your faith playing a strong role in defining all you do. How so?

What it means for me is that I don't want to be known first and foremost as Rasheed the basketball player. I want to be known as a committed Christian who put God first in his life and who has great character. My parents and I both recognize that basketball is a vehicle that you can utilize to make a positive impact in life and I know that earning a college degree and having the opportunity to network in college will be a great platform for me to live out my Christian values.

In terms of having a platform, what did you learn from watching Tim Tebow at Florida?

I definitely watched Tim Tebow in college. The thing I noticed the most about him was that he relied on his Christian values during the good times and the bad times and he stayed committed to God no matter the criticism that came his way. He played the game with passion and commitment and that's something I try to do as well.

So no that you've become a high major prospect, can you describe how you've grown into that role?

I can tell you it took a tremendous amount of work and it still does every day. I worked real hard before and after school and during the summer and receiving the opportunity to play for a great AAU team with the Houston Hoops really helped me because playing in the EYBL League. I got the opportunity to compete against a lot of great players around the country, and getting to play with my friends LJ Rose and J'Mychal Reese was such a blessing, the exposure I received was really great.

Being part of the travel circuit, did you get a chance to develop a relationship with any players outside of Houston?

I would say I got really close with guys like Shabazz Muhammad, Cameron Ridley and Rodney Purvis. I have a great deal of respect for how they all played and we all talk on a regular basis.

Switching gears to recruiting, have you been making an effort to watch a lot of schools on TV this year?

Yes, I have a love and passion for the game of basketball and I do watch a lot of teams on TV. I try to pay attention to how they utilize their guards, and I ask my coaches what their thoughts are on teams and how they run offense and play defense.

Which teams do you watch the most?

I watch Duke a lot, I watch a lot of Big East teams as well, I'm just a fan of good basketball.

You've got a visit to Duke coming up this week, who is coming with you for the visit?

I'm going with my Mom, my Dad, my brother and my High School coach, and we're all real excited. It's my parents first time going to Duke's campus, so we're looking forward to checking out the campus some more, talking with some academic people hopefully.

They have been talking with Coach K recently and we're looking forward to having some time together with the coaches and the players and go get a chance to watch a great game, maybe even take in a practice.

What has been the content of the conversations between you and Coach K?

He's talked with my parents several times, the last time he talked with my Dad I was actually not at the house, my Dad remarked how nice a person he was on the phone, just very supportive about our family and myself as a person and player.

Have you seen a Duke practice before?

Yes, when I was there for their Midnight Madness I got to watch a Duke practice and man, I liked it a lot. It's a very intense practice and Coach K demands a lot from his players which I like a lot. They stress defense a lot and you can tell that if you can't defend, you can't play, and they have a nice 2 guard setup with the types of guards they have.

It's been reported in the media recently that your recruiting process may be coming to a close quickly, is there anything to that?

I think I have to just stay true to myself and try to keep things in perspective. I'm going in with my family and we all have an open mind, we're going in to visit a school that I like a lot, but I want to make sure that we enjoy the time we have there with the coaching staff and the players and then we'll see where things go.

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