One On One With Rasheed Sulaimon

Duke got an early shot in the arm in the class of 2012 as Texas sharpshooter Rasheed Sulaimon picked the Blue Devils over several high major offers. With his recruiting process now behind him, Sulaimon can focus all his attention on getting better. This past weekend in Hampton the five star guard did just that.

What's it like being considered one of the top players in your class?

Rasheed Sulaimon: I feel like I do have a target on my back because I was one of those guys who is looked at the top players in my class. It's just a blessing to be highly ranked and thought of so highly. I know guys are going to be coming after me, so it makes me hungry to keep working hard as a player so I'm ready when the challenge comes.

Is it a hunter vs. hunted kind of thing?

To be honest, I don't think I'm the hunted. I'vie always consider myself to be chasing somebody. No matter if I'm number 100 or number one, I'm always trying to go out and get somebody. That's just my mentality. I'm never satisfied.

Sometimes players keep a list of guys who are ranked ahead of them and kind of circle those match-ups on their calendar. Is that something you do as well?

Yeah, there's a couple guys at my position that I'm really looking forward to matching up against on the circuit. A lot of them are in the EYBL. Guys like Archie Goodwin and Rodney Purvis, they are both my friends and I look forward to competing against them. I'm also not sure if it'll be able to happen but I look forward to playing against Shabazz Muhammed. They are great guys and great competitors and I always look forward to the challenge.

How do you balance the friendships with those guys against the on the court competition?

I just consider that it's time to go to work when I'm on the court. We're all friends and that's great, but when we get on the court, it's all business and we're all trying to win. Nobody wants to get embarrassed, you gotta get out there and play your best.

Your fundamentals on the defensive end seem to lend themselves to you being a defensive stopper, is that something that Duke is saying they want you to be when you get there?

Definitely. Coach K, he's a great defensive coach and since I was little my dad was the same way and it's just kinda a passion I have, I don't want my guy to score and I know I can help my team win by my defensive effort.

Having your recruiting out of the way so early means you can give advice to players going through the process. What kind of advice do you give in those situations?

It's kinda all the same in certain ways because we all started the recruiting process around the same age and I just ended my recruitment earlier. I just try to give them tips on schools and what Duke is like. Like I talk with L.J. [Rose] about Duke a lot.

Is Duke indicating to you that they have interest in L.J. or vice versa?

You know, it's a tough thing because Quinn Cook is there, but I understand it. I talk with Coach James a lot about different guys we're trying to bring in at Duke, guys like Shabazz and Tony Parker.

Coach James has been mentioned a lot in the media about his recruiting efforts, can you talk about your relationship with him?

Coach James is a great guy. He's just one of those coaches who cares that really cares about people and not just with basketball, he cares about every aspect of who you are, who your family is. You can hear the genuineness in his voice when he talks with you. He's a high energy guy as well, and he's a bit younger too so you feel like you can relate to him too. He's a guy you feel you can talk about anything to him about and he makes you feel real comfortable.

Do you work with Coach James or anybody else reference Duke's recruiting efforts and your part in that?

Yeah, we definitely talk about guys that they are recruiting like a Tony Parker and others and I stay in constant contact with them in that area, we're trying real hard to bring some more talented guys to the program.

What were your thoughts on Duke's NCAA Tournament run?

It was hard the way it all came out because I really thought they had a good chance to win it all and another thing is that if they had made the Final Four they would have been in my hometown, which would have been awesome. I'm disappointed for them, especially Nolan because they had a great season and I wanted to see all their hard work rewarded. They are going to come back strong next year.

I'm sure you've heard about Kyrie announcing for the draft, what do you think it means if he gets drafted #1 overall?

Duke is known in certain circles for bringing in guys that are talented four year players, so to me it says that they can also bring in players that can go really high in the draft after not spending four years there. The types of guys they recruit are all really good players and persons as well. I think it'll help Duke with recruiting to have had a player like Kyrie, just because he's such a great player.

You've mentioned before that academics and faith are extremely important in your life, how do you think going to Duke is going to enhance those commitments?

When I went down there with my parents the last time, we met with an academic advisor for the team and we kinda already set out a plan for what I'm going to major in with their business program. We also go to visit the Duke Chapel while we were on campus, and it was really great to experience that. I'm going to have the best of both worlds at Duke with those commitments, I'm really looking forward to going there.

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