The Maryland Terrapins have made quite the turnaround. This season, the Terps are rolling, and thanks to a certain freshman, along with the outstanding play of Melo Trimble among others, the Terps have a good chance at making quite a run in the 2015-16 campaign.
This year, the Terps are 13-1 on the season, only falling to the Tar Heels. Maryland’s play, however, would not be the same if five-star recruit Diamond Stone hadn’t elected to come to the University of Maryland.
“I want to be a national champion,” Stone said regarding his decision to choose the Terps over home-town Wisconsin University, UConn and other colleges around the nation. “I want to bring a national championship to College Park, and I think with hard work and the people around me, I can do that.”
On Dec. 30, Stone set a record, scoring 39 points against Big Ten rival Penn State. Entering the second half of play, the Terps were down by 12. However, Stone decided that he would not let his team lose.
He was fouled many times, leading to him capitalizing on 21 of 27 free throw attempts. Singlehandedly, with some help from Trimble and company, Stone was able to power the Terps comeback in the second half, through a combination of slam dunks, free throws and simple field goals. They were able to win the game that was too close for comfort, 70-64.
Not to mention, the Terps had 39 points from the bench, and all of them came from Stone alone.
What is amazing about watching Stone is his athleticism and determination; he will ensure that when the ball is in his hands and when he is near the net, it will go through that basket. And if he doesn’t make it the first time, he will grab the ball and go for the rebound without thinking twice about it.
This past week, Stone deservingly won the title of Big Ten Player of the Week, along with Freshman of the Week. He is the second player to do that behind Melo Trimble.
In a game
Stone averages 13.1 points per game, and has an impressive 59.5 field goal percentage. The rookie sensation also scored in the double-digits for the past seven games, and for many games, he is coming off the bench instead of starting, due to the fact that he seems to improve his play when he does not start. Defensively, the freshman still has a lot to learn.
“He’s a really talented kid,” head coach Mark Turgeon said. “I think, defensively, that’s where he has to come in for us. He knows that, but he’s a talented kid. Offensively he’s really, really skilled and has a great feel for the game.”
Stone, however, is fun to watch. He led Dominican high school to four state championships. When he dunks the ball, he screams, and when the team is on a hot run or he scores a point, he is so full of energy. His game face is contagious, and each game, he defies expectations. With 49 points in his last two games, I am eager to see what he can provide going into the rest of the season.