GREENSBORO, N.C. - What some people might see as a load of responsibility, Rasheed Sulaimon of Duke sees as no big deal.
"I feel my role right now is very simple," said the 6-foot-4 freshman. "As a young player I'm just there to bring a lot of energy, play as hard as I can and be a supporting cast to those great players (around me). I do whatever I can on the defensive side, making plays when I can, shooting shots when I'm open and trying to create plays on the offensive side."
That's it? No taking tickets at the gate or working in a concessions stand?
All kidding aside, Sulaimon has fit seamlessly into Duke's schemes on offense and defense. He has become an integral part of a Blue Devils team that is 11-3 in the ACC, 24-3 overall and ranked No. 3 in the country.
"We're really pleased with Rasheed," said coach Mike Krzyzewski. "He's had a great year for any player, but as a freshman, it's been terrific."
Sulaimon's biggest value is probably on defense. He gives the Blue Devils their tallest defender on the perimeter, something last year's team didn't have.
"He's a key guy for us because he's got to be a really good defender," Krzyzewski said. "He gets matchups that are tough matchups and has done well."
Not that his offense is lacking. Sulaimon has been a steady scorer, hitting double figures in 19 of Duke's 27 games. He's averaging 12.4 points overall, 13 points in ACC games, 14 points in the dozen games that forward Ryan Kelly has missed with an injury, and 18.2 points in his last four games.