When 6’10, 250 center Diamond Stone (already in the running for best name in college basketball) committed to Maryland last week, the Terps instantly became next season’s favorites to win the Big 10 championship. Stone, a 6-foot-10 center out of Dominican High School in Milwaukee, is ranked No. 7 in the ESPN 100 for the 2015 class and a member of the 2015 McDonald’s All American team. Maryland finished second in the Big Ten this past season, behind only Wisconsin, whom is currently playing in the Final Four. Stone will compliment a young team that surprised most basketball fans by competing for a Big 10 title in its inaugural season in the conference.
Signing Stone is a coup for Coach Mark Turgeon, the 2015 B1G Coach of the Year, because he chose Maryland over Wisconsin. Stone also marks back-to-back McDonald’s All-American recruits for the Terps who signed Romelo Trimble (Bishop O’Connell) last season. Trimble averaged 16.2 points as a freshman and was named to the Big Ten second team. Trimble is poised to be in contention as one of the best guards in college basketball next season.
Guard/forward Jake Layman, the Terps third leading scorer, returns after a solid junior season and Georgia Tech transfer Robert Carter, a burly 6’8, 250 forward who averaged 11.4 ppg and 8.4 rpg as a sophomore, is eligible to play. Plug in Stone and the Terps have a formidable front court that might be the best in the B1G.
The three top teams in the Big 10 this past season were Wisconsin, Maryland, and Michigan State. Both Wisconsin and Michigan State are playing in the Final Four. Wisconsin loses senior All-American and Big Ten Player of the Year Frank Kaminsky. Michigan State’s leading scorer, Travis Trice, is a senior as is their leading rebounder, Branden Dawson.
While Maryland will lose senior guard Dez Wells, the team’s second leading scorer behind Trimble, freshman guard Dion Wiley is waiting in the wings for his chance to start. The highly recruited guard from Potomac High School played behind Wells for most of last season but should be prepared to duo with Trimble to give the Terps an explosive backcourt. Guard/forward Jared Nickens also showed promise during his freshman season, including a 14 point game against Valparaiso in Maryland’s close 65-62 win in the NCAA second round.
With so much young talent returning, Maryland had the trappings of a very good team next season. With Diamond Stone’s commitment, Maryland is poised to be a great team. Turgeon coached the Terps to the second best record in the Big 10 this past season and with Stone, the Terps have the ability to sit atop the Big 10 next season.