Maryland Basketball: Terps’ Melo Trimble Poised For Epic Year

James Snook-USA TODAY Sports
James Snook-USA TODAY Sports /

After testing the NBA waters, Maryland junior guard Melo Trimble returns as the lone starter from last year’s Sweet Sixteen team.

Maryland guard Melo Trimble averaged 14.8 points, 4.9 assists, and 3.6 rebounds per game in his sophomore year helping the highly-anticipated Terps reach the Sweet Sixteen for the first time since 2003.

After a frustrating sophomore season, Trimble decided to explore the NBA waters, attending the NBA Combine and working out for several NBA teams. Trimble’s former teammates Diamond Stone and Robert Carter Jr. opted to hire an agent, making their decision to leave school early to enter the NBA draft official. The other two starters from last year’s team seniors Rasheed Sulaimon and Jake Layman graduated.

If the Maryland basketball team and their fans weren’t anxious enough waiting for Trimble’s decision, the Maryland guard remained undecided until just an hour before the deadline when he finally announced his return to Maryland for his junior year. The college basketball world could hear a huge sigh of relief from Maryland fans knowing Trimble will be back in a Terps uniform next season.

More from The Baltimore Wire

As the lone starter returning from last year’s team, Trimble comes into the 2016 season as the clear-cut leader for the Terps. Trimble made the right choice by returning to Maryland after his draft stock took a nosedive.

Now, this is Melo Trimble’s team, and with that, he has a golden chance to enjoy a monster year for the Terps. If he returns to his freshman year form with added confidence and swagger, Trimble may find himself as a lottery draft pick in next year’s NBA draft.

With Trimble’s return to College Park, the Terps find themselves currently ranked 21st in the USA Today Coaches Poll and is a team that should contend for their third consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance. Unlike last year where the Terps began the season ranked 3rd in the nation with expectations sky-high, Turgeon now has the benefit of coaching his team with far fewer expectations.

The Terps come into the 2016-17 season with seven players returning, five freshmen, and a graduate transfer. Maryland’s freshmen class include guard Anthony Cowan and 6’7″ guard Kevin Huerter, who were both ESPN 100 recruits.

The remaining freshmen class consist of four-star recruit forward with a 7-3 wingspan Justin Jackson, forward Micah Thomas, and 6’9″ forward from Spain, Joshua Tomaic.

More from Maryland Terrapins

Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon was able to add graduate transfer and senior L.G. Gill from Duquesne who is set to contribute immediately to a young Terps team.

The only remaining senior left on the roster is center Damonte Dodd who is stenciled in as the Terps starting center with Stone gone.

Dodd will be backed by junior center Michal Cekovsky who looks to reach his full potential after showing flashes of becoming a prolific center his freshman year.

The Terps will also get guard Dion Wiley back from a torn right meniscus injury that sidelined him the entire 2015-16 season. Freshman guard Cowan will allow the Terps to play more small ball and brings much-needed backcourt depth to an offense that seemed lost without Trimble on the court.

The Terps come into this season with maybe more perimeter and pure shooters since Turgeon took over in 2011 with the additions of Huerter, Cowan, Gill, and returning junior Jared Nickens.

Next: Orioles: 2016 AL East Positional Catcher Rankings

Trimble, who was recently named to the Bob Cousy Award watch list, an award that acknowledges the top point guard in college basketball, has the possibility to experience his best season yet. If Trimble can reach his full potential this season, the Terps will find themselves back in the NCAA Tournament and a chance to surprise the college basketball world.