COLLEGE PARK -- After a seven-game stretch of great success (and seven wins) Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon made a change to his starting lineup on Wednesday by re-inserting Diamond Stone as the team’s starting center in its 88-63 victory over Rutgers at XFINITY Center in College Park.
It seemed like perhaps a shift back to lineups from earlier this season, but according to senior forward Jake Layman, it was a procedural error.
“Tonight, [Stone] wasn’t supposed to start,” the senior said. “It was supposed to be Damonte [Dodd], but someone messed that up.”
Layman, with a laugh, declined to elaborate and head coach Mark Turgeon and other players had already spoken to the media before Layman said what he had said and, thus, were unable to elaborate either.
There was obvious confusion during pregame introductions, which would support what Layman was explaining.
Stone was listed as the starting center on the XFINITY Center scoreboard and in the online scorebook available to media. Even the public address announcer introduced Stone as the starter, accompanied by a graphic featuring Stone’s picture being shown on the overhead videoboard.
But Dodd stood up off the bench and ran through the two parallel lines of reserve players that had been formed (as usual) for the introduction ceremony. Stone was in one of those lines as if he were meant to be a reserve.
When both teams took the floor, though, Stone was the team’s starting center.
Regardless, he was highly efficient in his 21 minutes on the floor, finishing with a double-double of 15 points and 10 rebounds.
“Diamond does a great job of imposing his will,” Layman said. “He’s so much bigger than everybody else that he does a great job of if he misses a shot getting right back and putting it back up.”
Stone had come off the bench in the previous seven games and scored in double figures in every contest, including a Maryland freshman record 39 points in a victory over Penn State last week.
In the game that followed Stone’s breakout performance, he came off the bench against Northwestern and put up 10 points and two blocks.
What is unclear now is, if in fact it did happen to be a mistake, whether Stone will again come off the bench in his homecoming to Wisconsin on Saturday or if he will be a starter.