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Mark Turgeon will readily admit that he and his staff did not expect point guard Melo Trimble to return for his junior season at Maryland.
Twenty-one years old and projected by some to be taken in the second round of the 2016 NBA Draft (though with a sliding stock), a real possibility existed that the Terrapins could be close to a rebuilding year if he chose to remain in the draft and force Turgeon to replace all five of his starters from the program's Sweet 16 team this past season.
But that all changed when Trimble informed Turgeon by phone on May 25 that he intended to return to College Park.
"We put our head down, we got lucky, and then we were blessed with Melo coming back," Turgeon said Thursday of his program's last-signing period success before throwing out the first pitch at Camden Yards in Baltimore. Not only is Trimble back, but Maryland added graduate transfer L.G. Gill, plus Top 50 Canadian forward Justin Jackson and 6-9 Spanish forward Joshua Tomaic to the roster.
"It helps give us a little momentum going into next year."
The question now is which version of Trimble Maryland gets as a junior.
He showed incredible flashes early in his sophomore campaign, looking like he had built on a stellar freshman season. He seemed almost assuredly NBA-bound after games like Dec. 1 against North Carolina when he dropped 23 points and added 12 assists.
But injuries and inconsistency down the stretch of the season changed the trajectory of his immediate pro future. The NBA Combine in Chicago did not move the needle for Trimble, nor did individual workouts with teams. Now, he returns to Maryland.
"I think he'll approach this year totally different than he did last year," Turgeon said. "I keep saying everything, last year Melo had a target on his back. This year, he's going to have a chip on his shoulder so I don't think he'll have the pressure on him that he had last year.
"Our team had a tremendous amount of pressure on us. I think he grew from that. Melo just needs to play for Maryland and be the best player he can for Maryland. The rest will take care of itself."