Melo Trimble arrived in College Park at a time when Maryland desperately needed him.
As a freshman, Trimble, along with then-senior Dez Wells, brought respect back to the Terps program, leading them to one of the best regular seasons in school history. Trimble led the Terps in scoring (16.2 ppg) and assists (3.9 apg), earning himself a spot on the All-Big-Ten first team.
The point guard had a decision to make after his stellar freshman season: to enter the NBA Draft or return to Maryland for his sophomore season. Trimble, who was projected to be a first-round pick had he departed in 2015, chose the latter, hoping to raise his stock by returning to a loaded Terps team for another year.
Five years later, the point guard admitted that he wished he had left for the NBA Draft after one season with Maryland.
"Unfortunately, freshman year I could’ve left and been in the NBA and probably still be there now," Trimble said on Anthony Cowan’s One Stop podcast. "I decided to stay in college [until] my junior year and looking back on it, of course, I wish I would have left, but it is what it is. That’s life."
As a sophomore, Trimble saw his per-game averages take a slight dip. However, to the point guard's defense, Trimble returned to a Maryland team that was, on paper, one of the most talented in program history.
The Terps entered the 2015-16 season ranked No. 7 in the country and had a lineup that featured Trimble, five-star freshman center Diamond Stone, former Duke star Rasheed Sulaimon, and current Minnesota Timberwolves forward Jake Layman. All that goes without mentioning Robert Carter, a power forward transfer from Georgia Tech, who was the team's second-leading scorer. Maryland reached the Sweet 16 that season before getting blown out by Kansas.
"They think freshman year I averaged 17, the next year I have to average 20," Trimble said. "My sophomore year was me, Rob Carter, Jake Layman, Rasheed Sulaimon. Like come on now, that’s the whole team right there with everybody scoring.
"I’m not going to go out there and have 18 points. I didn’t understand why people felt I had to be great, I mean I had to be great, but like another level from the year before as far as points-wise," Trimble continued. "I’m a point guard at the end of the day, my sophomore year I felt like I learned how to pass the ball. Freshman year I didn’t pass at all. Looking back on it, I’m kind of happy I did stay. I had to learn how to be a PG."
Trimble also said that another factor that weighed into his decision to stay at Maryland was the tight-knit brotherhood he formed with his teammates.
"At Maryland, it was like a brotherhood. We bonded well and it was like, 'I don’t want to leave this for some money,'" Trimble said. "At the time, the following year I could have got drafted as well. Certain things happen, I got hurt and it is what it is. It wasn’t easy to say I’m not going to go to the NBA and stay."
The point guard ended up returning for his junior season, too, as Maryland saw Stone, Sulaimon, Carter and Layman all depart for the draft following the 2015-16 season. The Terps had their share of ups and downs in 2016-17 but still earned a sixth seed in the NCAA Tournament. However, their time in March Madness was short-lived, as the Terps were bounced by 11th-seeded Xavier in the opening round.
After his junior season, Trimble had no reason to stay at Maryland anymore. He entered the draft, but all 60 picks went by without the Upper Marlboro native hearing his name.
Trimble played for the Philadelphia 76ers summer league team in 2017 and joined the Minnesota Timberwolves that fall for training camp. He was one of the final players cut ahead of the season. Trimble spent his first year removed from Maryland playing for the Iowa Wolves of the NBA G-League but didn't have much overall success.
Over the past two years, Trimble has found plenty of success playing in the NBL in Australia, the same league that top draft prospects LaMelo Ball and R.J. Hampton played in last season. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Trimble had signed an agreement with the European club CB Estudiantes, one of the most recognized teams in Spain.
While the 25-year-old still has NBA aspirations, he knows those likely could have been fulfilled had he left school two years earlier than he did.
"I might be able to get there one day, I might not," Trimble said.
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