COLLEGE PARK -- Over the past two games, both Maryland losses, the Terrapins’ bench has produced just six total points on 3-of-12 shooting as a unit.
For a team with NCAA title hopes, the lack of second-unit production on the offensive end is approaching a major concern if it is not already. That brought up the question Saturday -- could Diamond Stone be headed back to the role as a sixth man to bring a spark off the bench?
“No, I don’t think so,” head coach Mark Turgeon said before going on to praise junior Damonte Dodd for the job he did filling in for Stone during his suspension vs. Minnesota.
Stone will be back against Michigan and after initially dismissing the idea, Turgeon went on to at least leave the door ajar for some sort of change to take place in the starting lineup.
“I don’t know what we’re going to do as far as starting tomorrow,” he said. “I love my team. Nothing’s changed. I’m starting to really settle in on my rotation a little bit, so we’ll see. We’ll see if we can match up tomorrow or not.”
It’s unclear exactly how settled the rotation is, with some experimentation still taking place in the backcourt even against Minnesota. But Turgeon has long said that he likes to bring scoring off the bench and Stone blossomed earlier this season in that role.
What shifting Stone back to the bench could do immediately is split up some of the problematic frontcourt pairings that have come to be. The defensive-minded Dodd and Michal Cekovsky on the floor at the same time means no true pick-and-roll threat for point guard Melo Trimble to work with, limiting the offensive options.
By splitting up Stone and Robert Carter, Jr. more often, there could always be one pick-and-roll threat on the floor to supplement Dodd or Cekovsky.
Add to that the fact that Stone has progressed from a near defensive liability to a true defensive asset over the course of his freshman season and that end of the floor is less of a worry for Turgeon.
“Diamond can score for us. He’s a presence down there [in the post],” Turgeon said. “He’s gotten so much better defensively, so we’ll see. Our bench is our bench. Our team is our team. We’ve just got to do the best we can.”