SPOKANE, Wash. -- Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon was asked about South Dakota State redshirt freshman Mike Daum earlier this week before his team departed for the West Coast to take on the Jackrabbits.
He heaped upon him praise.
“He’s just a good player. He’s a good low-post player. He can step out and shoot threes when he has to. He’s got toughness to him,” Turgeon said of the 6-9 native of Omaha, Nebraska. “He’s a smart player and he’s good.”
Then there was something about what Turgeon said next. He simply added it in there, like a side note or a point that’s not to be forgotten among the praise for Daum.
“My freshman’s pretty good, too.”
That freshman is Diamond Stone, the Associated Press pick for Newcomer of the Year in the Big Ten and projected first-round NBA draft pick who is averaging 12.9 points and 5.5 rebounds in under 23 minutes per game.
That will likely be the matchup of Maryland’s first-round game to watch.
Daum can take advantage of Stone’s weaknesses on the defensive end of the floor by stretching out to the perimeter, but Stone should be able to do the same in the face-up or back-to-the-basket game on the other end of the floor.
He averages 15.2 points, 6.1 rebounds, and shoots 45 percent on slightly under two three-point attempts per game.
“It’ll definitely be one of the more fun ones,” Daum said on Thursday of his matchup vs. Stone. “Diamond’s a terrific player and it’ll be tough to guard him down low and I’ll just have to make sure I work extra hard on the defensive end guarding him.”
Maryland has been unable to play much small ball this season because of the limitations presented by the preseason injury to guard Dion Wiley. If the Terrapins run into trouble against Daum, that could be a time to stick a player like Jake Layman on him.
Layman was critical in containing Denzel Valentine in the second half of Maryland’s last game, as well as limiting Iowa’s Jarrod Uthoff and Nebraska’s Shavon Shields.
Stone’s offense could be a defense, too.
Wear Daum down on one end the floor and perhaps he’s not as efficient on the other end.