Sulaimon was not selected in Thursday’s NBA draft, but he’ll now have a chance to make an NBA roster alongside former Maryland star Dez Wells, who will also compete on Chicago’s summer league team. The summer league will take place July 8-18 in Las Vegas.
Sulaimon worked out for 12 teams during his draft evaluation process and was confident in his chances to be among the 60 players taken Thursday night, despite not being among the four Maryland players who were invited to the draft combine in Chicago in May. Maryland ended up having two former players drafted Thursday night, with freshman center Diamond Stone going 40th overall and being traded to the Los Angeles Clippers and graduated small forward Jake Layman landing at No. 47 overall with Portland. Power forward Robert Carter Jr., who gave up his remaining year of eligibility to enter the draft, signed as an undrafted free agent with Golden State.
Sulaimon worked out for Houston, Cleveland, Brooklyn, Detroit, Indiana, Chicago, New Orleans, Boston, Oklahoma City, Utah, Memphis and Toronto, he said last week.
After a winding and sometimes controversial college career, Sulaimon wasn’t projected by most analysts to be drafted. He averaged 11.3 points, 3.5 assists and 3.5 rebounds in his lone year at Maryland, which came after he became the first player to be dismissed by Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski in January 2015. Later that spring, Sulaimon faced multiple sexual assault allegations amid a report by Duke’s student newspaper, accusations he vehemently denied. Sulaimon was never charged criminally or by the university, but the ugly echoes of the matter continued to follow him in College Park.
He nonetheless emerged as the primary leader on Maryland’s roster and proved to be a versatile asset on the court, establishing himself as one of the team’s best two-way players. The 6-foot-3 Sulaimon projects to be a shooting guard at the next level.
After closing his workout schedule with New Orleans and Oklahoma City earlier this week, Sulaimon said he had to cancel a number of other sessions because he simply ran out of time. He returned to Houston to watch the draft with his family Thursday night, holding on to the hope that a team would take a chance on him. His evaluation period will continue through July as he claws to make an NBA roster.
“You’re going into a setting where all the GMs and scouts for that team, and the head coach sometimes, are watching your every move. Sometimes it can be nerve-wracking, to say the least,” Sulaimon said in a phone interview last week. “Everything you do in your pre-draft workouts leading up to this point prepares you for it.”