Sulaimon Taking Trips

The Class of 2012 recruiting season is about to ramp up to full gear with the July evaluation period ahead. One of the top guard prospects emerging from the state of Texas is Strake Jesuit HS prospect Rasheed Sulaimon. Aggie Websider's David Sandhop recently spoke to the Houston product about his recent visits to Texas A&M and Baylor.

While the Class of 2011 is coming down the homestretch with next month's final evaluation period and the early LOI signing date just over four months away, the Class of 2012 is starting to take center stage and garnering interest and offers from college coaches across the country. The junior class in the state of Texas appears very talented and deep in both guards and post prospects. One fast rising guard from is Rasheed Sulaimon, a 6-foot-3, 180-pound from Houston Strake Jesuit.

"I have offers from the three big schools in Texas – Baylor, Texas A&M, and Texas," Sulaimon said. "I also have an offer from Indiana and Oregon State and I'm hearing from a lot of programs."

The Houston native found time between his busy AAU tournaments schedule to take a one day trip to Waco and visit with Baylor coach Scott Drew and tour the Central Texas campus. He came away impressed with his first visit to Baylor.

"Coach Drew stayed with me the whole time and I felt like I was a high priority," Sulaimon said. "He focused on the private school aspect and the smaller class sizes which is what I'm used to right now. He also showed me a lot of highlights and how he's developing players for the next level. Baylor is definitely a school I will seriously consider."

Sulaimon visited Texas A&M earlier in the summer and he recapped his unofficial trip to College Station.

"I've been to Texas A&M several times so I was already comfortable with the school and the facilities," Sulaimon said. "I spent more time with the coaches on this visit. A&M has a great coaching staff and I like their up-and-down fast-paced style of play. I like the atmosphere at A&M and I always enjoy my time there. Finally, I like the academics at Texas A&M."

The highly-rated 2012 guard plans to visit the third state school on his radar screen in early August when he'll take a trip to Austin and see what head coach Rick Barnes and the Longhorn program have to offer. He's never visited the campus and wants to learn more about Longhorn basketball. But Sulaimon made it clear that he's not going to limit the recruiting process to in-state schools. He plans to consider a wide range of programs before narrowing down his school list next summer.

"I'm not ready to name a leader or narrow things down. Location is a factor. I'd like for my parents to see me play, but it's the top factor in my decision," Sulaimon said. "My top factors are the school's academics and the coaching staff."

Sulaimon emerged onto the recruiting scene this spring after leading a young Strake Jesuit High School team deep into the state playoffs. His stock continued to surge after his performances this spring with the elite Houston Hoops AAU team that also has national elite prospects J-Mychal Reese, L.J. Rose, and Kieth Frazier on the roster. He discussed his skill set, including his strengths and areas where his is looking to improve.

"I play hard every night and I play hard on both sides of the court. I'm a shooter. I can shoot from the outside and I'm comfortable with a 1-2 dribble pull-up," Sulaimon said. "I feel I can drive to the rack, but that's where I'm working to get better and making it second nature to drive the lane when I have the opportunity."

Sulaimon also takes pride in his defensive skills and his dedication to stopping his opponent, a mindset that's harder to find with younger basketball players.

"I can guard any of the three perimeter players on the court. I'm quick enough to guard the point, but physical enough to take on a No. 2 or a No. 3 guard," Sulaimon said. "I'm given the best player to shut down and I like the challenge."

Sulaimon will continue to participate with Houston Hoops this summer, so his trip to Austin will likely be his last before his junior school year starts in late August. He hopes to take several unofficial trips in the fall, but he's unsure of which schools he'll visit yet, although he acknowledged that he'll likely take in an Aggie football game."

"Texas A&M is only an hour drive for me and my family, so I'm pretty sure we'll have time to make it up to College Station. We'll go to some other schools, but we don't have plans yet."

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