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How Stone made freshman year easier by picking Terps over Wisconsin

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How Stone made freshman year easier by picking Terps over Wisconsin

Diamond Stone hinted at it not long after he committed to Maryland. In an interview with CSN before the 2015 McDonald's All-American Game, it was clear one of the major factors that he had in mind when choosing to play for the Terrapins.

"Pick-and-roll with me and Melo [Trimble]," he said. "That's unstoppable right there."

As Stone returns to his home state, Wisconsin, for the Terrapins' matchup against the Badgers on Saturday in Madison, a 15-game sample size is enough to confidently say that the five-star Maryland freshman did himself a major favor when it comes to his development as a young player by choosing to play in College Park over the one-time, in-state favorite.

The Terrapins and Badgers have followed two very different paths this season, Maryland reaching as high as No. 2 in the nation, while Wisconsin has endured the departure of two first-round NBA draft picks, Frank Kaminsky and Sam Dekker, and the in-season departure of its coach, Bo Ryan, to begin the season 9-7.

But it comes down to really one factor as to why Stone is personally in such a good position -- personnel. 

Head coach Mark Turgeon has called Stone the team's "sixth starter" and he is settling into his role off the bench partly because the starting lineup is so stacked with offensive talent that Turgeon would like to spread the wealth around a bit. 

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That has to be balanced with one of the promises he made to Stone during his recruitment, though.

“I think I’ve done this long enough now where you just coach and I know what’s inside Diamond and I know what I have to get out of him," Turgeon said. "There is a great responsibility when you’re recruiting him and you’re telling him, ‘Hey, you know, I do think you can play at the next level.’ Well then you better make sure he gets there."

It is nearly impossible for defenses to focus solely on him when he is surrounded by Robert Carter, Jr., Jake Layman, Rasheed Sulaimon, and the player who helps him initiate a good portion of his post touches, Trimble.

“That’s the main reason why I picked Maryland," Stone said. "Because, first of all, you have a great point guard, Melo Trimble. He’s probably the best point guard I’ve ever played with. His vision is just off the charts. He makes plays and he does a lot for the team.”

But it's not just on the perimeter.

Stone, coming from Wisconsin, did not face players his size for much of his high school career. In practice, a 6-8 assistant coach would defend him to level the playing field, he says. Now, he faces Carter, Jr., plus seven footers Michal Cekovsky and Damonte Dodd daily.

"Diamond is an elite talent in his own right," Sulaimon said. "But then when you put him with a Jake Layman, with a Robert Carter, with a guy like myself or Melo Trimble, we make the game easier for each other."

The result is less pressure, less of a spotlight, and more opportunities to gain confidence without being shouldered with the weight of carrying a team or being labeled a hometown disappointment if struggles happen. So far, he has gotten what he has wanted.

“I wanted to be a championship contender," Stone said of why he chose Maryland, "and I want to win games.” 

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Maryland's Kevin Huerter surprises at 2018 NBA Combine

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Maryland's Kevin Huerter surprises at 2018 NBA Combine

Going into the 2018 NBA Combine, Kevin Huerter was not receiving much hype, was off many NBA Draft boards, and many assumed he was heading back to college anyways.

Playing in the first scrimmage of the combine process, all those storylines quickly changed.

Playing against players like Jacob Evans, Donte DiVincenzo, Udoka Azubuike, and Jevon Carter, Huerter emerged as one of the top stars. The two-year Maryland spot-up shooter saw 25 minutes of action and only trailed Penn State prospect Tony Carr in points on his squad.

With 14 points (5-11 FG, 3-8 three-pointers), Huerter showed development since he was last seen with the Terps. His passing was the biggest asset for his team and was not afraid to take a shot against these top defenders.  The 6-7 forward also added three rebounds, an assist, and had only one turnover.

Although his shooting in-game was not fantastic, in the individual drills he showed off.  Of the seven shooting marks, he ranked in the top five in five of them.  He also had the best shuttle run (2.96 seconds).

No question, Huerter’s draft stock significantly rose. Although still early, he is looking to be the highest rated Terp prospect this year over Justin Jackson and Bruno Fernando.

Consensus among those at the NBA Combine seems to believe that Huerter will return for his junior season at Maryland.

After today though, it may be hard to say no.

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Panthers' first-round pick D.J. Moore visits Maryland with his new puppy

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Panthers' first-round pick D.J. Moore visits Maryland with his new puppy

D.J. Moore has an adorable new puppy!

Days after the Carolina Panthers selected Moore as the No. 24 pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, the former Maryland wide receiver returned to his roots and paid a visit to College Park.

But the first-rounder wasn’t alone when he went to Maryland. According to the Terps’ football Twitter account, he brought his new puppy with him. Seriously, look at this puppy!

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The Big Ten Receiver of the Year in 2017, Moore was obviously a crucial component of the Terps’ offense. He finished the season with 80 catches — a Maryland single-season record, which was also a Big Ten high.

He declared for the NFL Draft after his junior season with Maryland.

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