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Why isn't Melo Trimble getting to the free throw line anymore?


Why isn't Melo Trimble getting to the free throw line anymore?

COLLEGE PARK -- It was the bread and butter of Melo Trimble's game as a freshman at Maryland. While he held the threat of shooting the ball from the outside against you, he could also change speeds and drive by you then show off his body control around the rim to either finish or get fouled.

That, at the very least, seemed to be the end result of a Trimble drive. He would get to the line and, being that he shot 86 percent from the stripe, it was often an efficient offensive possession.

But something has changed this season. After averaging 6.9 free throw attempts per game last season, he has shot at least seven times from the line is just two of Maryland's 19 games. As a sophomore, he is averaging just 3.9 attempts per game. He has attempted five free throws in the last four games. Total. That includes just one in 42 minutes on the floor in Tuesday night's overtime win over Northwestern.

Head coach Mark Turgeon has been beating that drum since the start of conference play, back even before the team's loss to Michigan last week.

"Melo gets the ball wherever he wants. I just wish he'd get a few more foul calls," he said. "I'd like for him to get to the line a little bit more."

"It's very physical on him right now and he is [Big Ten] Preseason Player of the Year and hopefully as the season goes on as we continue to figure out ways -- because we're going to keep driving the ball, that's what we do -- hopefully he'll get to the line a little bit more, but he's got to stay confident."


There could be numerous causes for the dip. It most likely starts with familiarity, as Trimble himself pointed out on Tuesday.

"Teams are starting to strategize against me," he said. "They watch film on me."

Fouling an 87-percent free throw shooter is like handing the other team points, so more defenses are willing to back off and force him to finish over length instead of getting up into his body. He still often makes them pay with dazzling adjustments at the rim, but given the choice between that and almost automatic free throws, it is not hard to choose.

Then there is the actual act of calling a foul, which comes down to referees. Has something changed?

"Coaches are asking the refs to look at the film of how I get my fouls," Trimble said, "and refs are starting to just watch for little things and not even call fouls."

As a freshman, Trimble was the master of selling contact. He would throw his head back to emphasize a collision with a defender. That worked last season, but now becomes a "let-it-play" tell as a sophomore.

The result is a certain amount of contact on his drives that seems to go uncalled to avoid giving a phantom foul to a defender instead. Thus, that could be at least a part of his overall dip in attempts.

Ultimately, though, don't expect it to change Trimble.

"It's nothing that's in my control," he said. "So it's part of me just playing basketball and not worry about the fouls and hopefully it will come."

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Maryland's Darnell Savage signs rookie contract with Green Bay Packers

Maryland's Darnell Savage signs rookie contract with Green Bay Packers

Darnell Savage is the third NFL draft prospect profiled in our series ‘I Am the Prospect’. Download the MyTeams App for all three features.

Darnell Savage Jr. spent four seasons wowing fans in College Park as a defensive star for the Maryland Terrapins, and in April he found out he’ll be taking his talents to Wisconsin after being selected in the first round of the NFL Draft by the Green Bay Packers.

Now, his future in Green Bay is officially official.

As Schefter mentions, Savage is the first first-rounder to sign a contract in 2019. It will be the standard length of first-round draft picks, going four years guaranteed with a fifth-year option. Reports are that the speedy, hard-hitting safety will earn $12.5 million over the first four seasons of the contract.

There were some questions about Savage’s fit in an NFL defensive backfield, given his size. But he is an athletic player with great instincts for the ball, and his statistics were thoroughly impressive the last two seasons in college. The Packers certainly believed he would be a terrific fit in their defense, considering they traded up to the 21st pick in order to make the selection.

Savage should have a great opportunity to start early in Green Bay, and now that he’s signed his contract so early, he’ll be able to get to work sooner rather than later. Knowing Savage, that’s just the way he wants it.


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NFL Draft prospect Tre Watson hopes to time draft night around 'Avengers' release

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NFL Draft prospect Tre Watson hopes to time draft night around 'Avengers' release

Thursday night will be a very important moment in the life of former Maryland linebacker Tre Watson.

At midnight, the highly-anticipated Marvel movie Avengers: Endgame will hit the big screen for general audiences to see, bringing the conclusion to a decade worth of popular films. Watson, like millions of others, has been counting down the days until he could see the Avengers and Thanos go at it one more time.

Oh, and Thursday also marks the beginning of the 2019 NFL Draft, where Watson will most likely hear his name called at some point over the three-day span.

While Watson will be tuning into the draft that night, he understands that his moment of recognition may come a little later on in the week. Therefore, Thursday is all about 'Avengers'.

"Fortunately, you know, I'm kind of realistic. I know I'm not going to be a first-round pick," Watson said in an interview on NFL Network. "So I'll just be watching that just kind of for the formality of it, I'm definitely excited for 'Avengers' and then I kind of will springboard into Day 2 and Day 3 where I'm hoping to hear my name called. It's really a perfect set up for me, honestly."

This isn't the first time that Watson has let it be known to the world that he is a dedicated Marvel fan. His Twitter feed is filled with thoughts on the movie, including a tweet from a few months back that took the internet by storm.

The first round of the draft still does have some intrigue for Watson, as his former teammate Darnell Savage Jr. has gained a lot of steam during the draft process and has a chance to be chosen on Thursday night. However, Watson will hope that Savage's name is called earlier in the night rather than later, as he will need time to get to the theatre to prepare to watch  Captain America and company save the day one last time.