Despite going undrafted in the 2017 NBA draft, former Maryland basketball guard Melo Trimble has agreed on a deal with the Philadelphia 76ers, per Chris Haynes from ESPN.
Not too long ago, former Maryland basketball standout Melo Trimble was on the fringe of being an NBA draft lottery pick after a sensational freshman year for the Terps basketball star.
After a freshman year where Trimble finished in the top 10 in several statistical categories among Big Ten players including first for free throws made (207) and free throw percentage (86.3 percent), No. 5 in total points (568). Furthermore, Trimble helped lead to a NCAA Tournament berth after a five-year drought.
Despite a projected first-round draft pick in the 2015 NBA draft, Trimble elected to return to Maryland for his sophomore season to form one of the most dangerous teams in college basketball.
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Ranked No. 3 in the 2015-16 preseason AP Top 25 poll, Trimble returned to join forces with the No. 6 ranked recruit in the 2015 ESPN 100 Diamond Stone, transfers Robert Carter and Rasheed Sulaimon, and the now Portland Trail Blazers Jake Layman.
But, the star-studded starting lineup lacked chemistry, especially early one in the season, and as a result, Trimble’s numbers dropped as well as his draft stock. Despite an uptick in assists, the former Bishop O’Connell High School standout points per game slid from 16.2 points to 14.8 points.
It wasn’t that Trimble didn’t shoot enough either because his field goal attempts per game jumped 9.7 to 10.8 shot attempts. Instead, Trimble wasn’t getting to the free throw line like he did his freshman year. Trimble, who led the Big Ten in free throws (207), free throw attempts (240) and field throw percentage (86.3 percent) his freshman season, suffered a decline in his draft stock which proceeded to plummet as he continued to stay loyal to the University of Maryland.
As a sophomore, Trimble juggled the acts of the Terps prime scorer and playmaker that resulted in a career-best 4.9 assists, along with 14.8 points, a career-low. Trimble operated an intricate offense that provoked indecisiveness in high-pressure situations throughout the season.
After testing the NBA waters, Trimble waited until the last hour of the NBA draft entry deadline to announce he will return for his junior season in hopes of raising his draft stock. In his junior season, Trimble did that as he averaged a career-highs of 16.8 points, 5.5 field goals, 12.5 field goal attempts and 2-point field goal percentage of 53 percent.
On the other hand, the 6-foot-3 guard lost his touch from the free throw line. As a 86 percent free throw shooter his first two years at Maryland, his free throw percentage dipped to 79 percent (78.9 to be exact).
Trimble’s biggest disadvantage going into the 2017 NBA draft wasn’t his stats, but more because of his age. The 2017 NBA draft made history as a record-setting 16 freshmen were drafted in the first round. In addition, the first seven picks were freshmen and 10 of the first 11 picks were freshmen.
As College Basketball Insider for CBS Sports Jon Rothstein pointed out, “testing the waters” is no longer the optimal route for college basketball stars.
Trimble, who elected to return to Maryland after his freshman year, is a prime example of what can happen to your NBA draft stock in today’s NBA if you don’t take advantage of a strong freshman year and jump right into the NBA.