Watch CSN's full interview with Diamond Stone in the video player above, which will begin momentarily.
COLLEGE PARK -- After choosing Maryland over in-state favorite Wisconsin, then going through the preliminary stages of the Team USA process in the summer, all while dropping significant weight and adapting to college life, five-star freshman Diamond Stone is just ready to play basketball, he told CSN on set at Tuesday’s basketball media day in College Park.
Ready to get on the court and, laughing while affirming the comment made by CSN’s Rob Carlin, ready to stop talking to people in the media like us.
“You guys are fun,” he joked. “I just can’t wait to play for Maryland. I can’t wait to look up and see every seat in the house filled.”
It’s unclear exactly where Stone will fit into the rotation for Maryland.
His offensive game is unquestioned. It is much of what made him a five-star recruit out of high school. On the defensive end of the floor is where he has put in the most work to improve and still needs to take strides.
For that reason, junior Damonte Dodd could get the nod in the starting lineup at the center spot as a defensive stopper, alongside four strong offensive weapons in guards Melo Trimble and Rasheed Sulaimon and forwards Jake Layman and Robert Carter, Jr.
That would shift Stone to the second unit where he could not only have his way with second-unit centers until he gets his feet wet, but he would also bring a scoring punch off the bench in the post, spreading Maryland’s assets out more evenly over the first and second units.
“Freshmen bigs have the furthest to come of all players,” head coach Mark Turgeon said on Tuesday. “The last two days, he’s had great practices -- his two best that he’s had, so really proud of him.
“There’s a lot of things he has to do better and he knows that. It’s always been easy for him, so now it’s hard every day and each day gets a little better at sustaining playing at a higher level for us.”
Even if Stone does not start, expect him to work his way in there by the end of the season. As he acclimates himself to the speed of the college game, which he admits he is still doing, he should develop nicely.
Maryland opens its season on Nov. 13 against Mount St. Mary’s (Md.).