Mar 28, 2015; Spokane, WA, USA; A Maryland Terrapins cheerleader holds a sign from the sidelines against the Duke Blue Devils during the first half in the semifinals of the Spokane regional of the women’s 2015 NCAA Tournament at Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena. Mandatory Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports
The Maryland basketball program took a giant step in the right direction over the weekend, after five-star center Diamond Stone committed to the Terps. The 6-10 center from Dominican High School in Milwaukee’s top two choices were Maryland and Wisconsin and he chose the Terps over the hometown Badgers. Stone is the No. 7 overall prospect and No. 2 center in the Class of 2015 according to ESPN.
With the addition of Diamond Stone, the Terps should now be considered contenders for the national championship next season. Point guard Melo Trimble has already announced that he’ll be returning for his sophomore campaign. Jake Layman, who for the most part, was pretty consistent for Mark Turgeon this season, will most likely also return next season for the Terps. This team will rely heavily on Layman for senior leadership.
Stone will likely be teaming up with Layman and Georgia Tech transfer Robert Carter to form one of the best frontcourt units in all of college basketball. The Terps should instantly become a force on the inside, especially since Turgeon will now have the luxury of bringing guys like Damonte Dodd and Michal Cekovsky off the bench.
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In addition to Stone, the Terps have also brought in Jaylen Brantley, one of the top JUCO prospects in the Class of 2015. Brantley is also ranked as the top point guard in the class. He will team up with Melo Trimble, creating a lethal backcourt to go with a formidable frontcourt. There will also be some added depth with the addition of Ivan Bender, a Junior Euroleague standout.
If Maryland basketball fans thought this year’s team was good, they haven’t seen anything yet. Next season may very well be their year. Not to say that they will win it all because they still won’t be the favorites, but the Terps will be a team to be reckoned with, not only in the Big Ten, but in the nation.
The Terps may have found the ‘Diamond’ they were looking for in Stone. His impact will be evident because Maryland has never really had a big man of his caliber, including Alex Len. This is an exciting time for the Maryland basketball program and that tough loss in the Round of 32 doesn’t seem to sting as much anymore.