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Maryland-Wisconsin Preview: 5 things you need to know

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Maryland-Wisconsin Preview: 5 things you need to know

It’s a homecoming for one star player and an injury test for another, on top of the fact that games on the road are tough to win in conference play.

Maryland-Wisconsin tips at 1 p.m. Here are 5 things you need to know.

1) Diamond’s homecoming

Much has been written about the path that led Diamond Stone from his Milwaukee home to College Park to play his college basketball. On Saturday, he returns to his home state to face the Badgers and in all likelihood the overall reception won’t be so warm.

Fan bases do that. Maryland did it to former Terrapins commit Justin Anderson whenever he would come to XFINITY Center with Virginia. Jahlil Okafor and Tyus Jones, both former Duke Blue Devils who beat Wisconsin in the 2015 NCAA title game, were booed by Bucks fans when they came to Milwaukee as pros. It happens.

The key for Stone will be taking a page out of Rasheed Sulaimon’s book when he returned to North Carolina with the Terrapins earlier this season. Booed relentlessly as another former Blue Devil, Sulaimon says he tried to play within his limits and not let himself fall into a “1-on-5” trap or make the game about a “personal vendetta.”

2) Two different program trajectories this season

Maryland upset a Top 10 Wisconsin team at home last season before the Badgers went on to the national championship game. The Badgers, now with the Terrapins ranked No. 3 in the country, are hoping to return the favor.

Wisconsin has had to endure the loss of two NBA first-rounders, Frank Kaminsky and Sam Dekker, as well as the in-season retirement of coach Bo Ryan. They are 9-7 on the year. Handing a top-flight team its first loss of the conference season would be nice touch.

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3) Concern about Melo Trimble’s injury

Head coach Mark Turgeon used the word “better” to describe Trimble’s condition on Thursday, as compared to Wednesday when he played only 14 minutes because of a hamstring injury that has been an issue dating all the way back to last season.

He is expected to play against Wisconsin, but Turgeon also used the word “concerned,” which likely means concern that there could be some lingering effects of the injury as the season progresses.

Trimble is not an explosive player, so the injury would not affect him in that way. It would be more about lift on his jump shots and his shiftiness being limited when he attacks the basket.

4) The problems Wisconsin has had

Last season, the Badgers were the No. 1 team in the country when it came to offensive efficiency, thanks in large part to Kaminsky and Dekker, and a freakishly low turnover percentage -- just seven total turnovers per game.

This season, both of those strengths have become issues. The Badgers are 102nd in turnover percentage this season and 132nd in points per possession. Combine that with the fact that their pace is one of the slowest in the country and they become susceptible to slipping into holes that are difficult to dig out of.

That is where Maryland can strike. With a collection of three-point shooters and the ability to rip off quick double-digit runs, the Terrapins will always have that card up their sleeve against a team like the Badgers. If their shooters are on, that is.

5) More production from the bench

Stone is an enormous part of Maryland’s bench attack. That’s part of the reason why he’s there, to add a scoring boost. But the Terrapins will need more from the others, starting with guard Jared Nickens and center Michal Cekovsky.

Nickens looked good against Rutgers, approaching a double-double, and is a constant three-point threat. Consistency is the question. Cekovsky does not need to be a Stone-level scorer, but really just be a second-unit Damonte Dodd -- getting rebounds and using his fouls wisely.

The bench might be the last piston that needs to fire for this whole Maryland engine to be running nearly perfectly.

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Huerter, the newest Hawk, introduced in Atlanta

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Huerter, the newest Hawk, introduced in Atlanta

It was just months ago that Maryland sophomore Kevin Huerter was a sure lock to return for the 2018-2019 season in College Park. 

At some point during the offseason, the 19-year-old changed his mind and decided to test his luck and enter the 2018 NBA Draft. 

After a solid performance at the Combine, Huerter began to soar up draft projection boards. 

Fast forward to the night of the Draft on June 21 from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. 

The Clifton Park, N.Y. native declined an invite to instead be with his family, friends and former teammates at a local country club. 

After watching 18 players get their names called by Commisioner Adam Silver, this happened: 

This viral video had the 518 (Albany, N.Y. area code) basketball community buzzing about the kid who brought Shenendehowa High School its first state championship since 1987. 

Huerter enjoyed outreach from many different names throughout the sports community: 

On Monday, Huerter was officially introduced as the newest Atlanta Hawk. His father, Tom Huerter, documented part of the special day on Twitter: 

In other news, if you don't see Kevin Huerter in Summer League, don't worry. Earlier this month, Huerter learned he needed to repair torn ligaments in his right shooting hand in order to be fully ready for the start of camp. 

Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk expressed his confidence in a full recovery for Huerter during the introductory press conference Monday. 

Clearly the organization is in the middle of a massive rebuild, and it's hoping that newcomers Kevin Huerter, Trae Young and Omari Spellman will be at the center of it. 

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NBA Draft 2018: Maryland basketball's Justin Jackson drafted by Nuggets, traded to Magic

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USA Today Sports

NBA Draft 2018: Maryland basketball's Justin Jackson drafted by Nuggets, traded to Magic

Maryland basketball had two players drafted in one night for the second time in three years Thursday night when the Denver Nuggets picked Justin Jackson with the No. 43 pick in the 2018 NBA Draft.

Jackson was subsequently traded to the Orlando Magic as part of a deal that brought the No. 41 overall pick, Kentucky's Jarred Vanderbilt, to Denver.

After his freshman season, in which he averaged 10.5 points and six rebounds a game while shooting 43.8 percent from beyond the arc, Jackson declared for the draft without an agent, but elected to return to Maryland for his sophomore season. But he'd play just 11 games before being shutdown for the year with a torn labrum. His draft stock was hurt, but obviously not totally erased.

He had surgery in January and ended up being the first Terp to declare for the 2018 NBA Draft back in March. Though Jackson's recovery kept him out of the NBA Combine, teams were still intrigued by what they'd seen from him in the past to be willing to take a flyer.

A 6-foot-7 forward with a 7-foot-3 wingspan, Jackson has the skill to play anywhere between the two or the four in the NBA, and the length to guard all kinds of players.

With Kevin Huerter headed to the last-place Atlanta Hawks, Maryland basketball's two draftees are slated to join last season's two worst teams in the Eastern Conference.