Maryland Terps

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Stone among big risers in latest 2016 NBA mock draft

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Stone among big risers in latest 2016 NBA mock draft

Maryland freshman center Diamond Stone is projected to be taken No. 11 overall in the latest edition of DraftExpress.com's 2016 NBA mock draft, released on Thursday.

That projection puts Stone back in the lottery after he had slipped into the early 20s earlier this season. 

Stone has progressed rapidly over the first 17 games of the 2015-16 season. Much of that can be attributed to how head coach Mark Turgeon has decided to use him, bringing him off the bench instead of keeping him in the starting lineup as he was to begin the season.

Off the bench, Stone is able to avoid early foul trouble, get a feel for the game, and regulate the Maryland rotation to pair him with a player like Michal Cekovsky who complements his skill set. 

NBA front-office personnel less and less look at raw stats and instead use efficiency numbers to project a player's talent at the next level. By that measure, his offensive statistics are impressive. Per 40 minutes, he is averaging 25.0 points and 10.6 rebounds while shooting nearly 60 percent from the field.

MORE TERPS: TRIMBLE MAKES MIDSEASON WOODEN AWARD CUT

He has also improved defensively, now posting a defensive rating of 94.2 per 100 possessions.

The ceiling for Stone, especially offensively, is high. Because of his efficiency in the post, he has been primarily an interior bruiser at the college level, despite coming into college with a reputation as a player who can stretch the floor. 

But it is clear that he has serious potential as a stretch-big. He is shooting 78.7 percent from the line on 4.4 attempts per game. A high percentage like that is often a good indicator of the promise in a big man's ability to stretch the floor with more development.

Elsewhere in DraftExpress.com's projection, sophomore guard Melo Trimble slips slightly to No. 23 overall and senior forward Jake Layman slips to No. 38 overall.

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Huerter, the newest Hawk, introduced in Atlanta

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USA TODAY Sports

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.