In the days leading up to Saturday’s Midnight Madness festivities, CSN will take a look at each projected member of Maryland’s starting five with an individual preview for each player. We will pose three questions of the five starters, with CSN’s answer for each listed just below it.
Here is the 3-of-5 Preview.
Name: Melo Trimble
Position: Point guard
2014-15 Stats: 16.2 PPG, 3.9 RPG, 3.0 APG
Question 1: Will Trimble take the next step as a "traditional" point guard this season?
Trimble was thrown into the fire as a lead guard as a freshman and was sensational. He was difficult to defend out of the pick-and-roll and got to the line at a rate few players (especially few freshmen) do.
Perhaps because of the other offensive options he had last season, though, he wasn’t as much of a distributor. That could change this season because he has so many more options. Robert Carter, Diamond Stone, Jake Layman, and Rasheed Sulaimon are all capable of leading a team in scoring on a given night.
More options, more comfortability with distributing the basketball. If he adds that to his game, he will be the front runner for the conference’s Player of the Year award -- and maybe more.
Question 2: Can Trimble compete to be a First Team All-American?
He will be a First Team All-Big Ten selection in the preseason. He may be mentioned nationally on preseason lists. But the question will be if he can finish the season there.
The performance should be there, but there might be some tempering of his raw stats because of the number of other weapons on this team (mentioned above). His efficiency stats will remain the same, but that’s not always what voters look at.
As was mentioned above, if he gets his assist numbers up and takes strides on the defensive end, he will be almost as much of a complete package as any other player in the conference.
Some others, including Providence’s Kris Dunn and LSU’s Ben Simmons, may have more NBA-ready bodies and will be viewed as such, but Trimble has the opportunity to be a truly game-changing college player as a sophomore.
Question 3: How will Jaylen Brantley change how he is used?
Richaud Pack was Maryland’s backup ball handler last season and he hadn’t played point guard since high school. He has graduated and in comes junior college transfer Jaylen Brantley, who is the legitimate second ball handling option that Maryland missed so dearly in its NCAA tournament loss to West Virginia.
Mark Turgeon has more options now. He can move Trimble off the ball. He can feel comfortable not playing Trimble 38 minutes in a given game. He can even try some three-guard sets with Sulaimon in the game.
Maryland’s season will be about versatility and it begins at the guard spots. Trimble is the biggest part of that and Brantley should aid him.