Three Maryland Terrapins are projected to be taken in the first 35 picks of the 2016 NBA Draft, as reflected in the latest edition of a DraftExpress.com mock released on Monday.
They are as follows:
Diamond Stone | Freshman | Center | No. 17 overall
Since being shifted into a role off the bench, Stone has found his stride. Being split apart from redshirt junior Robert Carter, Jr. -- with whom he shares a number of skills -- and being paired with Michal Cekovsky or Damonte Dodd, he has been an offensive spark and revitalized the second unit.
The question for Stone continues to be on the defensive end of the floor, where he is learning to defend by simply staying vertical and challenging shots without fouling. Especially in pick-and-roll situations on defense he will have to improve. The good news? He has progressed quite a bit from the season's first game, so it is clear he absorbs coaching well.
Melo Trimble | Sophomore | Point guard | No. 21 overall
Trimble came into this season needing to prove that he can be more of a true point guard. He has done that so far this season, averaging 15.0 points and 5.7 assists per game. He is nearly doubling his assists per game total from last season.
He has also shown the ability to take over games down the stretch, which he first showed last season. On the road against North Carolina he shined offensively. He did the same against Connecticut at Madison Square Garden. There will be questions about his ceiling, considering his lack of explosiveness -- but that's not his game anyway.
Trimble has always been more of a cerebral point guard who excels in the pick-and-roll and by changing speeds, which can be winning traits at the pro level, too.
Jake Layman | Senior | Forward | No. 32 overall
There have been stretches of the season where Layman has faded into the background offensively, but he has been better as a defender and remained a solid rebounder in his senior season.
Layman is the type of guy who will be a workout superstar, with his combination of size, athleticism, and shooting ability. All it takes is one team to buy in and see him as an asset -- especially in small-ball situations where he has shown he can play the power forward spot.
Not listed are two other Maryland starters, guard Rasheed Sulaimon and power foward Robert Carter, Jr.
Sulaimon has expanded his game to be more of a distributor since coming to Maryland, which should help his stock and could get him a shot in the league.
Carter is a versatile offensive player and very strong passer out of the post, but the question for him will be whether he needs good players around him to succeed in an NBA lineup or whether he can be a standalone option. The answer to that may determine whether he is a first rounder or a second rounder. His size and offensive skill alone should attract teams.
For the full mock draft from DraftExpress.com, click here.