A move several years in the making finally came Tuesday, with Maryland point guard Melo Trimble ending his collegiate career and declaring for the NBA Draft.
Trimble has been a candidate to depart the Terps for the NBA in each of the past two offseasons. He opted to stick around after a dazzling freshman campaign to join up with a group that entered the 2015-16 season as one of college basketball's national championship contenders. But his sophomore year saw a significant dip in his shooting numbers, and therefore a dip in his draft stock, bringing him back for his junior season.
Trimble was once again one of the best guards in the Big Ten this past season, and now his departure to the pros has finally come. In hiring an agent, Trimble is forgoing his senior season.
"I am confident and excited to pursue an opportunity to play in the NBA," Trimble said in Tuesday's announcement. "I am proud of what my teammates and I were able to accomplish these past three seasons at Maryland. I developed many great relationships and friendships, and together we able to create some very special moments for Maryland basketball.
"I want to thank coach (Mark) Turgeon for all of his support. He always believed in me. He challenged me and really helped in the development of my overall game. I am a more complete basketball player because of coach Turgeon and the coaching staff. To stay at home and attend the University of Maryland is the best decision that I ever made, and it was truly special to play in front of my family, friends and our amazing fans. Maryland will always be home."
In his three seasons, Trimble ended up in the top 15 in program history in scoring, assists, made free throws and made 3-pointers. Maryland won 79 games in Trimble's three seasons and finished in the top three in the Big Ten standings in each campaign.
As a freshman in 2014-15, Trimble averaged 16.2 points a game, shooting 44.4 percent from the field and 41.2 percent from 3-point range. He earned All-Big Ten First Team honors in his first year and was recognized as one of the country's top freshman guards, spurring speculation then that he would be a one-and-done player.
But with a trio of huge additions for 2015-16 — Robert Carter Jr., Rasheed Sulaimon and Diamond Stone — the Terps were looking like a national-title contender, and Trimble decided to stay for his sophomore season. While his scoring numbers decreased — he averaged 14.8 points a game and shot 41 percent from the field and 31.5 percent from 3 — Trimble helped Maryland reach the Sweet Sixteen for the first time in 13 years with nearly five assists a game.
His draft stock diminished, Trimble opted for one more season in College Park and saw his scoring average rise to a career-high 16.8 points per game while shooting 43.6 percent from the field. Trimble was once again named to the All-Big Ten First Team this season.
"Melo informed me that he has decided to enter his name in the NBA Draft," Turgeon said in the announcement. "Melo Trimble is a winner and helped change the face of our program. More importantly, Melo is a special person, and I thoroughly enjoyed coaching him. He is extremely humble and always puts the team first. Melo has grown as a leader and has done an outstanding job taking our program to new heights. Melo will be celebrated as one of the all-time greats in our program's history. We are very excited for Melo as he pursues his dream of playing professional basketball."