Maryland Terrapins: Trimble, Jackson Major Keys in Terps’ 5-0 Start

Nov 15, 2016; Washington, DC, USA; Maryland Terrapins guard Melo Trimble (2) dribbles as Georgetown Hoyas guard L.J. Peak (0) defends during the first half at Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 15, 2016; Washington, DC, USA; Maryland Terrapins guard Melo Trimble (2) dribbles as Georgetown Hoyas guard L.J. Peak (0) defends during the first half at Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports /

The Maryland Terrapins men’s basketball team remains undefeated as they travel to Brooklyn, New York to play in The Barclays Center Classic.

The Maryland Terrapins are 5-0 to start the season with both impressive and discouraging wins. Terps’ unbeaten start includes a six-point win over American (0-4), thrilling comeback win against Georgetown (2-4), a blowout win over Division III St. Mary’s (MD), nail-biting victory against Towson (2-2), and a comfortable victory over Stoney Brook (0-3).

Coming off a 2015-16 season where the Terps’ advanced to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2003, starters Diamond Stone and Robert Carter Jr. elected to forgo their remaining college eligibility to enter the NBA draft. The Terps other two starters Jake Layman, who scored 17 points in his NBA debut with the Portland Trail Blazers and guard Rasheed Sulaimon graduated from the University of Maryland.

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That left one starter remaining from the 2015-16 season, Melo Trimble, who initially entered his name in the NBA draft without hiring an agent, announced he would return to Maryland just hours before the midnight deadline.

Now a mixture of new and familiar faces has joined forces with Trimble to carry on the winning tradition of Maryland basketball. This season’s starting lineup features returning players Trimble and senior forward/center Damonte Dodd along with freshmen Anthony Cowan, Kevin Huerter, and Justin Jackson.

Trimble and Jackson have been effective so far this season, and both are essential pieces to the Maryland Terrapins early season success.

A More Confident Melo Trimble

Through the first five games of last season, Trimble averaged 9.8 field goal attempts per game and finished the season averaging 10.8 field goal attempts per game. Already in five games this season, Trimble is averaging 11.6 shot attempts with 19 field goal attempts against American, 13 against Georgetown, and 15 in the Terps’ matchup against Towson.

Melo is averaging 19.8 points through five games this season and has scored a team-high in points for every game so far except the Maryland Terrapins 93-45 rout against the Division III team, St. Mary’s of Maryland. Trimble played just 15 minutes in the blowout win as Turgeon took advantage of the opportunity to rest his starters. Terps’ junior guard played a season-high 37 minutes and scored 27 points, just four points shy of his career-high in a back and forth battle against Townson.

As the only returning starter from last season, Trimble’s improving numbers shouldn’t be much of a surprise to anyone. Anticipate Trimble to maintain his zealous start as he returns to his authoritative freshman year form.

Four-Star Recruit Justin Jackson Continues to Impress

After starting Maryland’s first two games on the bench, freshman forward Justin Jackson has earned a place in Turgeon’s starting lineup. The 6’7″ Jackson is not only a threat under the basket but also behind the arc. Jackson proved his ability to knock down three-pointers against Towson where he converted five of seven three-pointers and finished with 21 points. With a Maryland team that includes three-point specialists Kevin Huerter, Dion Wiley, and Jared Nickens, Jackson leads the Terps’ with nine three-point field goals.

The skillful Candian basketball star is the Terps second-leading scorer, averaging 11 points per game. Also, Jackson leads the Terps in both rebounds per game (7.8) and three-point field throw percentage (56.3). With a 7’2″ wingspan, Jackson has the talent to take on the Big Ten’s bigger defenders and create an opening in the lane as he extends his play behind the arc.

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If Trimble and Jackson can continue to develop chemistry on the court and put up the type of numbers they are now throughout the year, Maryland could be looking at their third straight NCAA Tournament appearance come March.