Sulaimon, a former McDonald’s All-American, was dismissed from the Duke program in January, in the middle of the Blue Devils’ 2014–15 title-winning season. In March, sexual assault allegations surfaced involving Sulaimon and two female students dating back to the 2013–14 academic year, according to a report by Duke’s student newspaper.
The allegations were never substantiated after investigations by both Duke and Maryland (during Sulaimon’s transfer process), and no charges have been filed.
“[Krzyzewski] didn’t want to deal with it. He wanted to go on with the season,” Angela Sulaimon, his mother, told The Baltimore Sun this week. “But there was no record, there were no formal charges. Nobody said, ‘Yes, he did it.’ The Duke newspaper tried to call me and one of them said, ‘Why can’t we talk to you and get your side of the story? Maybe we made a mistake with Rasheed.’ But I never answered.”
SI’s Emily Kaplan reported in March that Duke had not, at that point, investigated any of the allegations.
Sulaimon told the Sun that the Duke coach’s wide-ranging influence in the basketball world intimidated her son, who hopes to play professionally, from speaking honestly about the situation. She believes Krzyzewski, as head coach of the Olympic team, holds sway with NBA executives.
“Rasheed just won’t break the code,” she said. “Certain things he won’t say because he’s afraid of what might happen.
“He’s not the kind of kid who backed down and that was a problem with Coach K,” she later added.
Krzyzewski had said in a release, announcing Sulaimon’s dismissal, that it was “a privilege” to represent Duke and that he had “repeatedly struggled to meet the necessary obligations.” Angela Sulaimon told the Sun that the coach’s claims angered her and her husband.
Sulaimon said during Maryland‘s media day Tuesday that he hit “rock bottom” after leaving Duke and that he did not handle losing his starting spot as a freshman in a mature fashion. His role on the team decreased during his sophomore and junior seasons.
- Jeremy Woo