Mar 28, 2015; Chicago, IL, USA; McDonalds High School All American athlete Diamond Stone (33) poses for pictures during portrait day at the Westin Hotel. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
Heading into last season, Mark Turgeon had a solid recruiting class, featuring a 5-star, 4-star, and 3-star recruit, two of which were ranked in the ESPN100. Jared Nickens and Dion Wiley showed signs of good things to come, while Melo Trimble emerged as one of college basketball’s brightest young stars. Maryland may have another star in the making in 5-star Class of 2015 center Diamond Stone.
Stone, the 6-foot-11, 255-pounder from Milwaukee, made his collegiate debut Friday in the Terps’ exhibition contest against Southern New Hampshire. Stone got the starting nod, despite rumors that Damonte Dodd would be the starter at center, serving as the defensive anchor.
Maryland dominated this game, as expected, but Stone was, without question, one of the biggest highlights of the night. He scored six of the team’s first nine points, and finished with a game-high 16 points to go along with five rebounds. What’s more impressive is the fact that Stone accomplished this in just 17 minutes of action.
Granted, the Terps were playing against a Division II basketball program, but the true freshman looked pretty good nonetheless. It won’t be that easy every night out, especially when they get into Big Ten conference play, but Stone appears to be adjusting quickly to the college game.
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Turgeon spoke on his decision to start Stone in the exhibition. “Diamond Stone showed he was pretty special,” Turgeon said. “I just feel like eventually he’s going to be our starting center, so why not do it now?”
There are some pretty lofty expectations for Stone, who was widely regarded as a top-10 prospect in the 2015 recruiting class. If he can continue to perfect his craft and develop his game, at this rate, he can easily be a first-rounder in the NBA Draft as soon as next year.
If Stone reaches the level many expect him to, Maryland will boast the best frontcourt in all of college basketball. Robert Carter is a double-double machine and Jake Layman can do it all for the Terps. Stone’s development could be what puts Maryland over the hump and gets them to the national championship.