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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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Report: Top quarterback recruit Caleb Williams gave Maryland last word before college decision

Report: Top quarterback recruit Caleb Williams gave Maryland last word before college decision

On Saturday night, the No. 1 quarterback prospect of the 2021 recruiting class will announce his decision on where he will spend his college career. And he may not even have to leave the DMV to do it.

Gonzaga’s junior signal caller Caleb Williams has narrowed his list of options down to three schools: Oklahoma, LSU and Maryland. Though the Sooners under quarterback guru Lincoln Riley are considered the favorites to land him, the hometown Terrapins have outlasted a plethora of other schools throughout Williams’ decision-making process. According to The Washington Post, he gave head coach Michael Locksley and the Terps final word, last speaking with Maryland coaches on June 27.

Ranked the fourth overall player in his class by 247sports, Williams is coming off back-to-back seasons in which he was named first-team All-Met. As a junior in 2019, he threw for 1,770 yards and 19 touchdowns while showcasing his dual-threat ability by rushing for 838 yards and another 18 scores.

Locksley and the Terps have already enjoyed a successful offseason of recruiting highlighted by landing 247sports’ fourth-ranked wide receiver in the 2020 class, Rakim Jarrett. A product of St. John’s in D.C., he flipped from LSU on signing day, surprising even Locksley.

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Though the Terps went just 3-9 (1-8 in Big Ten play) last season, the addition of Jarrett as a legitimate weapon in the passing game may be enough to convince Williams to forego Oklahoma and LSU. He plans to announce his decision Saturday at 9 p.m.

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Top 2022 prospect Emoni Bates commits to Michigan State

Top 2022 prospect Emoni Bates commits to Michigan State

The No. 1 prospect basketball in the class of 2022 Emoni Bates announced his commitment to Michigan State on Monday. 

The five-star small forward is considered the best high school prospect in more than a decade and will be taking his talents to the Big Ten.

Bates had offers from four other schools: DePaul, Florida State, Kentucky and Michigan. The Michigan native announced his commitment extremely early in the recruiting process –– so early that the top eight recruits in the 2021 class have not even announced their decisions yet.

The 6-foot-9, 205-pound forward became the first commit of Michigan State’s class. He is also the first five-star to become a Spartan since Jaren Jackson Jr. in 2017 and the first No. 1 prospect to sign with the school since ESPN began its recruiting database in 2007.

His commitment came at a crucial time for the Spartans who lost significant talent at the end of last season in 2019 Big Ten Player of the Year Cassius Winston, who graduated, and 2020 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year Xavier Tillman Sr., who declared for the NBA Draft after his junior season.

Maryland will now have to face Bates at least twice a year in Big Ten play. The Terps have two commits in their class of 2021 – four stars Julian Reese and Ike Cornish – but have yet to add a member to the class of 2022. 

Last season, Maryland and Michigan State each won one matchup against the other. The two teams tied alongside Wisconsin as co-Big Ten Champions. All three teams posted a 14-6 conference record before the Big Ten and NCAA tournaments were cut short or canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. 

In the final AP Poll, Michigan State finished ninth while Maryland finished 12th.

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