The non-conference portion of the schedule is done and Maryland finished 11-1, now sitting as the No. 4 team in the nation.
How about some first-half superlatives? CSN has its list here.
MVP - Melo Trimble
Who else could it be? This team is supremely talented and the wealth is pretty evenly spread, but part of the reason it is able to be that way is because of Trimble as a rock at the point guard spot.
In his sophomore season, he has been more willing to shift into a full-time distribution role when needed while still showing his ability to take over games as a scorer when called upon. His 14.8 points per game is a team high. He leads the team with 5.8 assists (nearly double last season’s average). He even leads the team with 1.5 steals per game.
Best Supporting Actor - Rasheed Sulaimon
Where would Maryland be without Sulaimon? From a basic, X’s and O’s standpoint, were he not to have transferred from Duke to College Park the team’s backcourt depth would be so depleted after the injury to Dion Wiley that it’s almost certain they would not be the nation’s No. 4 team.
But from a leadership, fit, and production standpoint, he has been even more valuable. Sulaimon and Trimble have meshed together and filled in where the other is weak. He is one of five players on the team averaging double figures and is shooting 50 percent from both the field and from three.
Most Improved - Jaylen Brantley
When Wiley went down with that injury, it was assumed from the outside that the guard depth Maryland had would allow them to absorb it without much issue. But, as it turns out, Brantley still had to adjust to the Power Five game and Turgeon had to build the trust to put him in.
Now, both the trust and the confidence have come together and Brantley posted 14 points against Princeton and another 8 against Marshall. In this two-game stretch, he has made nine of his 11 shots.
A healthy Wiley would have pushed Brantley almost completely out of the rotation. Now he will be asked to shoulder key minutes in conference play.
Newcomer of the First Half - Robert Carter, Jr.
Preseason hype was about how Carter could be the best player on this Maryland team. He has lived up to it, averaging 13 points and 6.6 rebounds per game on a loaded team, while completely changing the dynamic of how the Maryland offense can work.
He now gives them a legitimate, take-it-yourself option in the post with an array of NBA level moves. It’s almost inevitable that we will see him take over a game at some point this season in Big Ten play.
Best Performance in a Losing Effort - Melo Trimble vs. UNC
There’s only one losing effort to speak of for Maryland so far this season, but there’s not really a question that the superlative should go to Trimble. In a back-and-forth battle on the road, Trimble overcame early jitters to finish with 23 points on 8-of-14 shooting. He made it a double-double by adding 12 assists.
Added to that, he barely sat. He played 38 grueling minutes and even had Maryland leading in the second half.
Highest Ceiling in the Second Half -- Diamond Stone
Stone says that he has fully accepted his role off the bench and it is paying off. Since becoming the team’s sixth man, he is averaging 14.2 points per game and has been better defensively -- probably due in part because he is now able to face second-unit forwards and centers to begin the game in his new role.
That has translated to confidence that carries over into big moments against the opposition’s best players. The five-star freshman is progressing nicely and will continue to do so.