COLLEGE PARK -- He goes by the nickname M&M -- meaning “Many Moves” -- originally given to him by his father and since carried on to the early days of his college career at Maryland.
Five-star freshman center Diamond Stone was every bit “Many Moves” in Maryland’s 91-55 exhibition victory over Southern New Hampshire on Friday night in College Park, tallying 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting and adding five rebounds.
He scored on Maryland’s first offensive possession on a one-on-one move in the post, something that we saw maybe a handful of times the entirety of last season for the Terrapins on a team with limited post options.
He followed that up with a spin on the baseline to the open rim later in the game, not to mention his awareness to pass out of the post to open shooters when double-teamed.
“I think Diamond showed that he’s pretty special down there [in the post],” head coach Mark Turgeon said after the game. “Now, he wasn’t going against 6-10 guys and all that but still to catch it and finish and do the things he did, he made it look easy.”
The migration of that nickname, which junior Robert Carter says is spelled like the candy, from Stone’s father to Maryland came one day in practice during some friendly jawing back and forth between Stone and the Georgia Tech transfer.
The two were going at it and Stone must have made a particularly nice play, proclaiming himself to be the moniker. Carter was confused by the abbreviation until Stone elaborated on what it meant. After a fine play of his own Carter would jab back, saying he ought to have that nickname instead.
“I call him ‘M&M’ when he’s playing good,” Carter said of Stone. “So when he made the first shots, I said, ‘M&M!’”
“I shouldn’t have called him because then he got like three fouls,” he joked.
Because of those fouls, Stone played just five minutes in the first half, but he scored six points within that short time. He would emerge in the second to finish with that breakout stat line.
Turgeon has praised Stone over the past few weeks for the way that he has taken a significant next step in his development. There was something of a question whether he would start the season opener or if the more defensive-minded Damonte Dodd would do so.
But Friday night’s lineup and Turgeon’s postgame comments seem to give an indication which way he is leaning.
“Starting means a lot to [Stone],” Turgeon said. “The person he started for [Dodd], it doesn’t mean as much to him. He knows he’s going to play, so that’s why I started him.
“I just feel like, eventually he’s going to be our starting center so why not do it now and go with him?”