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On 'frustrating' draft night, Stone's message for those taken ahead of him

On 'frustrating' draft night, Stone's message for those taken ahead of him

COLLEGE PARK -- Former Maryland center Diamond Stone was surrounded by friends and family in a College Park apartment building not far from where he played his college basketball as some of the more unexpected selections of the 2016 NBA Draft rolled in.

The international man of mystery, Thon Maker, went No. 10 overall to the Milwaukee Bucks. Taurean Prince, projected by many to go somewhere in the early 20s, at No. 12 to the Jazz. Marquette’s Henry Ellenson slipped. Kentucky’s Skal Labissiere fell nearly out of the first round. Deyonta Davis, whom Stone faced during the conference schedule at Michigan State, ended up in the second round.

International player after international player came off the board, creating a draft-night force that pushed him deeper into the second round. Then shortly before 11:30 p.m. ET the call came, informing Stone that the New Orleans Pelicans would be picking on behalf of the Los Angeles Clippers at No. 39 and No. 40 as part of a trade. He would be taken with that second selection.

With his mother to his left and his father to his right, Stone watched as the pick was officially announced on television. The lack of genuine surprise after already knowing he would be taken explains part of his reaction -- a smile and a slight dropping back of the head -- but there was undoubtedly a tinge of disappointment in his expression as well as the night’s result sunk in.

“As the night went on, it was kind of frustrating at first, just different bigs selected before me but I think that’s making me hungrier,” he told CSN. “So I think around Summer League I’ll be ready to play and play with a chip on my shoulder.

“But I’m blessed and thankful to be picked by the Clippers, thankful for them to give me the opportunity and it’s all in my hands now.”


After averaging 12.5 points and 5.4 rebounds per game and being named the Newcomer of the Year in the Big Ten by the Associated Press in his lone season in College Park, Stone signed an agent immediately after declaring for the draft and in the process closed the door on the possibility of returning to Maryland for his sophomore season.

Thursday night, big man after big man came off the board, ranging from college surprises like Pascal Siakim from New Mexico State to Toronto at No. 27 to the slipping Labissiere one pick later to Sacramento to Vanderbilt’s Damian Jones at No. 30 to Louisville’s Chinanu Onuaku at No. 38, plus a host of internationals like Ivica Zubac and Ante Zizic in spots that were previously thought to be possible Stone destinations.

But the Milwaukee native said later that Thursday night’s result did not in any way make him regret his decision to leave Maryland after just his freshman season.

“If I’d do it all over, I still would have went out,” Stone said. “It didn’t play like I wanted it to play, but I’ll just make the best of my decision.

“Anything is possible. I’m 40th, so I’m just going to just make the best of it. But I’m just, again, going to play with a chip on my shoulder and every big ahead of me, I’m coming.”

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Maryland women's shooting struggles lead to second-round loss vs. N.C. State


Maryland women's shooting struggles lead to second-round loss vs. N.C. State

RALEIGH, N.C.  — Kiara Leslie had 21 points and 11 rebounds against her former team, and North Carolina State beat Maryland 74-60 on Sunday in the second round of the women's NCAA Tournament.

Leslie, who spent three seasons at Maryland before graduating and transferring to N.C. State, finished one point shy of a career high.

Kalia Ealey and Chelsea Nelson added 12 points apiece while Akela Maize scored 11 to help the fourth-seeded Wolfpack (26-8) earn their first Sweet 16 appearance since the late Kay Yow led an inspirational run in 2007.


N.C. State, which shot 45 percent and was 7 of 14 from 3-point range, will play the Oklahoma State-Mississippi State winner on Friday night in the Kansas City Regional semifinals.

Brianna Fraser had 17 points for the fifth-seeded Terrapins (26-8), who were held to 37 percent shooting.

Leading scorer Kaila Charles, plagued all day by foul trouble, finished with four points -- 14 fewer than her average -- on 2-of-8 shooting before fouling out with 2:29 left. She had scored in double figures in 30 of her previous 33 games.

Maryland's offense, which averages 80 points, had trouble scoring against one of the nation's stingiest defenses.

N.C. State allows 56.7 points per game and only one team in the past two months -- top-seeded Notre Dame -- has reached 70 against the Wolfpack.


Maryland: The Terrapins were denied their sixth Sweet 16 in seven years in part because their potent perimeter game was nonexistent. Maryland, at 39.1 percent the nation's seventh-most accurate team, missed all five of its 3s. Kristen Confroy, who's third in the nation from long range at 40.3 percent, didn't attempt one.

N.C. State: Leslie kept tormenting her former teammates by turning steals into layups. Big brother C.J. Leslie led the N.C. State men's program to a Sweet 16 in 2012, and now she's headed to one, too.


N.C. State will play either top-seeded Mississippi State or ninth-seeded Oklahoma State on Friday night in the Kansas City Regional semifinals.


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Big Ten season comes to a close for Maryland in final seconds of second round


Big Ten season comes to a close for Maryland in final seconds of second round

NEW YORK -- After struggling with injuries and poor play most of the season, Wisconsin is peaking at the right time.

Brevin Pritzl broke a tie with a foul-line jumper with 28 seconds left and Khalil Iverson secured the win with a steal in the waning seconds, leading Wisconsin past Maryland 59-54 on Thursday in the second round of the Big Ten Tournament.


Brad Davison and Iverson each made two free throws in the final nine seconds, and the ninth-seeded Badgers (15-17) advanced to the quarterfinals against top-seeded Michigan on Friday at Madison Square Garden after winning for the fifth time in seven games.

"It's a credit to these guys to my right and also the guys back in the locker room, how they've grown over the last month," Wisconsin coach Greg Gard said. "It has been fun to watch and hopefully we've got a lot more basketball yet to play."

The win wasn't pretty, but the Badgers made all the key plays down the stretch and eight-seeded Maryland (19-13) didn't.

The biggest plays were offensive rebounds by Iverson and Ethan Happ after Pritzl and Davison missed 3-point shots with the game tied at 53.

After the second miss with 40.3 seconds to go, Wisconsin called timeout and Pritzl got the game-winner 12 seconds later.

"I think, especially at the end of this game, the possessions are magnified," Davison said. "When you do things right those final possessions, you can really turn things around."

Maryland had a chance to tie the game when Kevin Huerter was fouled by Happ with 9.2 seconds to go, but he missed the first of two free throws and the Terps came up short for the seventh time in 11 games.

"I feel like we were fighting uphill all night," Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said. "We had the lead 24-23. It's the one time we had the lead. We tied it a bunch of times. It really came down to two things. We fouled too much and we couldn't get a rebound when we needed a rebound."


Happ had 14 points and seven rebounds for Wisconsin, which lost to Michigan State 68-63 less than a week ago. Davison finished with 13 points while Iverson had 11 and six rebounds and Pritzl 10 points. The Badgers, who lost starting point guard D'Mitrik Trice and reserve Kobe King to injuries in December, won despite shooting 36 percent.

"I personally figure we just have to string together an entire game for 40 minutes and just staying toe to toe with them like we did last game," Iverson said. "I know we'll be ready for them."

Huerter had 20 points to lead Maryland. Anthony Cowan Jr. added 16 points and Bruno Fernando had 12 points and nine rebounds.

Wisconsin never trailed in the second half, but it never led by more than three points in the final 11:40 until the closing seconds.

Pritzl's jumper broke a 53-all tie. Huerter then missed the first free throw and made the second. Maryland fouled Davison on the inbounds pass and he made both shots with 8.5 seconds to go for a 57-54 lead.

Wisconsin fouled Cowan rather than let him attempt a game-tying 3-pointer. Since it was a nonshooting foul, the Terps had to inbound with 5 seconds to go and Iverson stole Dion Wiley's pass and then closed the game with two free throws.

"He has evolved into our defensive end stopped," Gard said. "For him to come in and make a play like that at the end to seal it was great."