Maryland Terps

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Turgeon may have found the perfect role for Diamond Stone


Turgeon may have found the perfect role for Diamond Stone

NEW YORK, N.Y. -- This game meant a little bit more to Maryland freshman center Diamond Stone, facing Connecticut on national television at Madison Square Garden.

“Diamond is one of those guys. He’s like Melo and guys -- brighter the lights, better they play,” Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon said. “Diamond did that tonight.”

Facing one of the teams that heavily recruited him during his time in high school, he was one rebound shy of a double-double, tallying 16 points and nine rebounds in Maryland’s 76-66 victory on Tuesday night.

Once again, Turgeon shifted him to the bench to begin the game, starting instead defensive-minded junior Damonte Dodd. It worked. Maryland got out to a 22-8 lead and Stone had five points and four rebounds by the 17:01 mark of the first half.

Turgeon accomplished two things by making the move. The starting defense got better -- proven by the way Connecticut’s offense struggled early -- and bringing an offensive talent like Stone off the bench unleashes a scoring barrage that second-unit post players have trouble with.


“He was good. He’s coming,” Turgeon said. “I keep saying, he gets better in practice every day, he gets more coachable, and he’s listening. He’s got a lot of good bigs around him, a lot of veterans. He’s listening to them and getting better.”

The next step for Stone continues to be his defense.

He was solid in the first half, some of his deficiencies hidden by the fact he could guard UConn’s Amida Brimah -- a player much more valuable for his defense than for his offense. In the second half he hit some bumps in the road, but it is clear that progress is still being made.

But with the threat he poses on the offensive end, Turgeon should be fine with letting him iron out those defensive issues in game minutes.

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

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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.

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NBA Draft 2018: Atlanta Hawks draft Maryland basketball's Kevin Huerter with the No. 19 overall pick

NBA Draft 2018: Atlanta Hawks draft Maryland basketball's Kevin Huerter with the No. 19 overall pick

Maryland basketball's Kevin Huerter was drafted No. 19 overall Thursday night by the Atlanta Hawks.

He's the Terps' highest draft pick since the Phoenix Suns drafted Alex Len fifth overall in the 2013 NBA Draft.

Huerter played two seasons with Maryland, averaging 12 points, five rebounds and three assists as a Terp. He's best known for his knockdown shooting ability, as he knocked down 46.6 percent of his shots from the field, including 39.4 percent of his three-point shots. During his sophomore season, he was better than 50 percent from the field and better than 40 percent from deep.

Back in April, when Huerter first declared for the 2018 NBA Draft without an agent, it was widely assumed he was just testing the waters to get feedback from NBA scouts and would return to school for his junior season. But an outstanding performance at the NBA Combine saw his hardly existent draft stock skyrocket. Almost overnight, Huerter's name was popping up in the first round of mock drafts, and now what seemed like a no-brainer decision to return to school wasn't so clear.

On May 30, he announced that he would leave his name in the 2018 NBA Draft and hire an agent. He recently had surgery on a torn ligament in his hand, but is expected to miss only two months and make a full recovery by the time the 2018 NBA season starts.

With the Atlanta Hawks, Huerter should pick up right where he left off shooting in college, but can also provide high basketball IQ and sneaky athleticism. He and Trae Young join Dennis Schröder and Kent Bazemore who finished last in the Eastern Conference last season.