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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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Sean Payton looks back on his short stint as an assistant coach at the University of Maryland

Sean Payton looks back on his short stint as an assistant coach at the University of Maryland

Before he was a Super Bowl coach, before he was even an NFL coach, Saints coach Sean Payton was a Maryland Terrapin coach.

For a few months in the offseason at least. 

Maryland coach Mike Locksley hosted Payton on "Late Night With Locks" and remembered that when starting in College Park for the first time, he was told his job depended on what Payton picked - running backs or receivers. Payton, then-Terps head coach Ron Vanderlinden knew at the time, was an up-and-coming star in the coaching ranks who had coached Marshall Faulk at San Diego State and had spent the year before as the quarterbacks coach at Illinois. (Click here to see the press release from when he was hired). 

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"When I got hired at Maryland in '97," Locksley remembered, "I was told it would be either running backs or receivers. It all depends what Sean Payton wants to do. Sean Payton was a coach here from December through Signing Day of '97 and then went out to the Combine and got offered a quality control job with the Eagles and as your moving truck was coming to College Park to drop off a bunch of other stuff ... the moving truck just kept going."

Payton remembered the tumultuous time for the Terps as well. He came to College Park with former Illinois coach Lou Tepper, who was hired as the assistant head coach and defensive coordinator. "Coach Vanderlinden's trying to put his staff together, it's December, we're recruiting," he said. "And you've got to pick up your stuff on the fly, ready ready. And so you're hustling and one month Coach Tep decides he wanted to wait. And look, that was a big loss for (Vanderlinden) because Tep was like a father to him ... but Lou felt more comfortable going back. So that was change number one."

Three weeks later, another assistant, Terry Malone left for another job to be closer to his father, who was sick at the time.

"So (Vanderlinden) was good and came into the staff meeting and said 'anybody else who wants to get out of here now?'" Payton remembered. "And we're all looking around saying 'this isn't going to affect us.' And three days later I'm like man I'm that person. I was third person out of the bank. You don't want to be the third person out of the bank."

Payton left the Terps for a quality control job with the Eagles, not even coaching a game for the Terps. But he did leave a bit of a legacy, according to Locksley.

In his short time with the Terps, Locksley said, Payton played a role in getting Maryland great Lamont Jordan to play at College Park. 

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Maryland football hoping for good news with Flowers DT Tommy Akingbesote's announcement

Maryland football hoping for good news with Flowers DT Tommy Akingbesote's announcement

Maryland's future defense is in the running for a huge boost on Wednesday.

Flowers High School defensive tackle Tommy Akingbesote posted on Twitter on Tuesday that he will be announcing his commitment at 6 P.M. on Wednesday. According to 247sports.com, the race is between the Terps and Virginia Tech - though a myriad of other schools are also listed as possibilities.

Terps coach Mike Locksley has already had two 4-star defensive linemen commit: Demeioun Robinson from Quince Orchard is ranked third in the state and 58th in the country overall. And another Flowers player, Marcus Bradley, who is ranked 9th in the state and No. 186 in the country is heading to College Park.

 Akingbesote is ranked 16th in the state according to 247Sports.com's rankings.

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