"Thing is, from year to year, you've got to make adjustments," senior Tyler Thornton said. "… I mean everybody has to make an adjustment. It's just taken a little longer for him to get used to that."
Sulaimon did not play one second against the Wolverines, getting the DNP -- coach's decision. There's no indication that he'll play big minutes Thursday night against UCLA in Madison Square Garden. Krzyzewski equated Sulaimon's struggles to a hitter going through a slump.
"It's kind of like in baseball, one of your really good hitters striking out all the time, can't get a hit," Krzyzewski said. "We just have to keep positive with him."
That's why Price approached him in the locker room. It's also why his current teammates have tried to rally around him.
Maybe not to win games immediately, but somewhere down the road, this season, the Blue Devils will need Sulaimon to come through for them.
"He's in a funk right now," Cook said. "He's trying his hardest to get out of it in practice, just trying his hardest. But he has a great attitude coming in every day. We're all in his corner. We're going to need him."
Sulaimon played just five minutes against Gardner-Webb. He's really been slowly fading into a slump after the Kansas game, despite making his only four starts of the season after the loss to the Jayhawks.
He's pressing right now to try and fit in, and it's not working.
In Monday's win over Gardner-Webb, Sulaimon's first shot with the clock winding down barely scraped the rim. His only other attempt came in the second half when he drove the lane with no openings and tried to throw the ball in.
"Honestly, right now I just feel like it's mental; I have to get out my own head," Sulaimon said. "I just feel like I'm thinking too much."
Krzyzewski said Sulaimon has maintained a good attitude even while watching guard Andre Dawkins and even freshman Matt Jones bypass him on the depth chart. Dawkins has made 7 of his last 11 3-point attempts, and Jones has gradually become a better defender than Sulaimon.
That explains how his playing time dropped from 22.5 minutes the first eight games to playing a combined five minutes in the last two. It's way past Krzyzewski trying to send a message; he's just going with the rotation that he feels will help Duke win.
Hood is confident that will include Sulaimon again.
"Everybody knows he can play, he knows he can play, it's just a matter of him doing it consistently on an every-day basis," Hood said. "... He's one of the best players on our team. We need him to come on and be who he is."
His teammates agree: That would be the best look of all for the Blue Devils.