If Duke had never secured the services of Rodney Hood and Jabari Parker, sophomore guard Rasheed Sulaimon would likely be a preseason All-American candidate. Athlon Sports' preseason yearbook, in fact, named Sulaimon to its third team this season, and it may not be a major stretch.
Sulaimon is a strong candidate to lead the team in scoring if he gets enough quality looks, and he compares very well to the incoming Hood.
Consider the numbers below, which illustrate how Sulaimon's debut season in Durham was marked by scoring every bit as efficient as what Hood put up at Mississippi State in 2011-12. (All numbers courtesy StatSheet.com)
Both thrived as secondary options behind talented inside-outside duos (Arnett Moultrie and Dee Bost for Hood, Mason Plumlee and Seth Curry for Sulaimon). Sulaimon, however, was much more willing to attack the rim, as evidenced by the vastly superior FTA/FGA ratio.
Hood's 6'8", 210-pound frame provides greater positional versatility, capable of sliding from off-guard to power forward, but he never displayed much desire to scrap in the paint as a Bulldog. According to Hoop-Math, Hood took only 10 percent of his shots near the rim during his freshman year.
By comparison, shameless three-point chucker Curry found time to take 12 percent in the paint.
Duke fans are justifiable in their excitement over Hood's arrival, but fans and opponents alike need a reminder not to forget about the budding star who was already in their midst.