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Diamond Stone admits to 'mistakes' during freshman year at Maryland

Diamond Stone admits to 'mistakes' during freshman year at Maryland

Former Maryland center Diamond Stone did not take part in 5-on-5 scrimmages at the NBA Combine last week. Instead, it seemed, the focus was on the interview process with team representatives as franchises familiarize themselves more with the 19-year-old big man.

And it became clear when Stone spoke to the media at the event in Chicago what his biggest public point of emphasis has become with the draft now about five weeks away.

“[I want to] show that I’m a mature young man who has some mistakes beginning of his college career,” Stone said. “But [I] have learned from it and moved on.”

Stone’s production on the floor in the minutes he played at Maryland was unquestioned. In under 23 minutes per game, he averaged 12.5 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks. He won the Associated Press’ Newcomer of the Year Award in the Big Ten.

But the underlying questions remained about his consistency, effort, and maturity. The most frontward-facing of those being an incident in during a home loss to Wisconsin in February when Stone shoved the head of Badgers forward Vitto Brown into the ground.

He was suspended one game by the program and issued a public apology.

Since signing with an agent and leaving College Park, Stone has been training at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. There, he says, he has continued to work on his body while adjusting to what will be a lifestyle change in the NBA.

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“I was able to mature,” Stone said. “Living on my own, waking up on time, getting places 15 minutes before I was supposed to be there so I think that was the big thing with me.

“You’re all by yourself, you know. You have to wake up on time, on your own. No one’s waking you up -- you don’t have managers, your coach isn’t texting you to wake up and it’s literally hard work.”

The maturity question is one Stone will continually have to answer.

Surrounded by veterans like Jake Layman, Robert Carter, Jr., and Rasheed Sulaimon this past season, each did his part in trying to help Stone along in the process. Head coach Mark Turgeon worked to do the same. Stone credited him on Friday.

“Coach Turgeon, he’s a great coach and he knows how to get a lot out of his players and I think that he taught me how to be mentally prepared for that at the next level,” he said.

“Coaches are not really going to hold your hand at the next level. They’re just going to fine you or kick you out of practice. So I think he disciplined me, you know? I think he got me ready for the next step.”

DraftExpress.com currently projects Stone to go No. 33 overall to the Los Angeles Clippers, though team needs are not yet factored into the site’s projections.

At 6-10 with an impressive array of post moves for a 19 year old, teams will be intrigued. It may just be a matter of how many of the other questions he can answer.

The Combine was likely the start.

“It was a college town. I’m new. I’m a freshman and I think that’s just -- I experienced college,” he said. “After my freshman year, I look back at it and if I would do it again I would do -- what would I do differently?
“So I think that I learned from all my mistakes. I learned from everything and I think that IMG was kind of like a new leap, a brand new leap on and start new.”

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Maryland's strength and conditioning coach Rick Court resigns after the death of Jordan McNair

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USA TODAY Sports

Maryland's strength and conditioning coach Rick Court resigns after the death of Jordan McNair

On Tuesday during a press conference, the University of Maryland announced the removal of head strength and conditioning coach Rick Court.

This announcement comes in the wake of disturbing details leading up to, and including, the death of football player Jordan McNair.

It was also revealed that head football coach D.J. Durkin remains on administrative leave according to athletic director Damon Evans.  

Prior to this announcement, Court resigned and reached a settlement with the university.

During the press conference, university president Wallace Loh also stated that the university would take responsibility for McNair's death.

"The university accepts legal and moral responsibility for the mistakes that our training staff made on that fateful workout day of May 29, which of course led subsequently to his death," Loh said.

"Some of the actions of our athletic training staff, not the coaching staff, the athletic training staff, they basically misdiagnosed the situation. No vital signs were taken, other safeguard actions that should have been taken were not.”

McNair's died as the result of a heat stroke that occurred during the aforementioned workout. Collapsing on the field due to exhaustion, the 19-year-old suffered a seizure and the authorities were not contacted for nearly an hour. McNair would pass two weeks later.

Not much information on the internal investigation was released by the school up until the latest report from ESPN this past Friday. In this report, ESPN detailed a “toxic culture” that ultimately led to the death of the young football player. Court was at the center of these remarks and was given a lot of the blame for what happened.

After the allegations on Friday, Maryland put Durkin on leave due to "allegations of inappropriate behavior" along with other staffers that included Court. 

Matt Canada is currently the interim head coach of the Terps in his first season with the team. Canada was named Durkin's offensive coordinator this season after being fired from the same position at LSU. 

Maryland kicks off their football season in less than three weeks, hosting Texas on September 1. 

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Governor Hogan issues statement on D.J. Durkin, Maryland football

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Governor Hogan issues statement on D.J. Durkin, Maryland football

D.J. Durkin, head football coach at the University of Maryland, was placed on paid administrative leave Saturday as the school investigates claims of abuse and actions which may have led to the June death of 19-year-old offensive lineman Jordan McNair. 

The Randallstown, Md. native collapsed during an outdoor team workout on May 29 and died two weeks later. ESPN is reporting his death to be the result of an official heatstroke. 

On Sunday, Governor Larry Hogan shared his thoughts on the matter: 

Wallace D. Loh, president of the University of Maryland, issued his own statement Saturday sharing "I am profoundly disturbed by the media reports yesterday about verbally abusive and intimidating conduct by Maryland football coaches and staff towards our student-athletes on the team." 

Loh also announced Matt Canada will serve as interim head football coach.

Durkin is preparing to enter his third season at Maryland. The team begins the 2018 season September 1 at home hosting Texas. 

 

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Details Emerging: New ESPN article provides disturbing behind the scenes details about Maryland's football program