Maryland’s Midnight Madness is just under a month away, Oct. 17, which will mark the official unveiling of a team poised to possibly be No. 1 in the nation when initial polls are released.
And that includes the centerpiece of that new group, five-star freshman center Diamond Stone.
Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon joined Andy Katz and Seth Greenberg on ESPNU’s College Basketball Podcast to talk, among other things, about Stone’s development throughout the summer and his outlook with the season approaching.
“We had Diamond for three weeks this summer and he had a good three weeks,” Turgeon said. “What the kid can do is he can put the ball in the basket.
“When you only get 16 hours in the summer, you’re cramming a lot of stuff in. So his head was spinning a little bit, but he’s a terrific scorer and has a great feel for the game, so he’s going to be fine.”
Stone is expected to walk into a starting role when the season begins, alongside Georgia Tech transfer Robert Carter and senior Jake Layman in the frontcourt. That ability to score will be key.
Maryland achieved the success it did last season with very little in the way of an offensive contribution from the center position. Point guard Melo Trimble picked apart defenses with the pick-and-roll, even without a reliable scoring option on the “roll.”
That should change with Stone. Not only is he a threat inside, but he can also stretch the floor out toward the three-point line and make the pick-and-pop a part of this offense.
“Right now he’s going through getting his body right, going through the weight lifting,” Turgeon said. “When you’re new it’s very exhausting for him. Classes, college classes, all that kind of stuff. It gets better every day.”