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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 gets great news as Anthony Cowan Jr. withdraws from NBA Draft to return for senior season

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Maryland gets great news as Anthony Cowan Jr. withdraws from NBA Draft to return for senior season

Anthony Cowan Jr. announced that he will return to Maryland basketball for his senior season after testing the NBA Draft waters.

Cowan, a local product out of St. John's College High School, has started every game at Maryland for the past three seasons. The point guard has led the Terps in scoring and assists the past two years, most recently helping the team to the Second Round of the NCAA Tournament. 

His return will be a huge boost to the Terrapins after big-man Bruno Fernando decided to forgo his eligibility for his final two seasons in College Park for the NBA Draft. Including Cowan, the team returns seven of its top eight scorers for the 2019-20 season and will be one of the more experienced squads in the nation.

With Cowan staying at Maryland, NBC Sports' Rob Dauster says that the Terps will be a potential top-five team entering the season.

His decision came hours before Wednesday's NBA draft withdrawal deadline. Earlier on the same day, he worked out for the Sacramento Kings, according to Baltimore Sun reporter Don Markus.

While Cowan has shown an impressive ability to lead his team in his three years, he was not a projected pick for the 2019 NBA draft. It's another year for the senior to display his ability, and lead a talented team to national prominence after he only scored 20 points in two NCAA Tournament games last year. 

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Maryland's Darnell Savage signs rookie contract with Green Bay Packers

Maryland's Darnell Savage signs rookie contract with Green Bay Packers

Darnell Savage is the third NFL draft prospect profiled in our series ‘I Am the Prospect’. Download the MyTeams App for all three features.

Darnell Savage Jr. spent four seasons wowing fans in College Park as a defensive star for the Maryland Terrapins, and in April he found out he’ll be taking his talents to Wisconsin after being selected in the first round of the NFL Draft by the Green Bay Packers.

Now, his future in Green Bay is officially official.

As Schefter mentions, Savage is the first first-rounder to sign a contract in 2019. It will be the standard length of first-round draft picks, going four years guaranteed with a fifth-year option. Reports are that the speedy, hard-hitting safety will earn $12.5 million over the first four seasons of the contract.

There were some questions about Savage’s fit in an NFL defensive backfield, given his size. But he is an athletic player with great instincts for the ball, and his statistics were thoroughly impressive the last two seasons in college. The Packers certainly believed he would be a terrific fit in their defense, considering they traded up to the 21st pick in order to make the selection.

Savage should have a great opportunity to start early in Green Bay, and now that he’s signed his contract so early, he’ll be able to get to work sooner rather than later. Knowing Savage, that’s just the way he wants it.

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