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Former Terps star Melo Trimble wishes he left Maryland after his freshman year

Former Terps star Melo Trimble wishes he left Maryland after his freshman year

Melo Trimble arrived in College Park at a time when Maryland desperately needed him.

As a freshman, Trimble, along with then-senior Dez Wells, brought respect back to the Terps program, leading them to one of the best regular seasons in school history. Trimble led the Terps in scoring (16.2 ppg) and assists (3.9 apg), earning himself a spot on the All-Big-Ten first team.

The point guard had a decision to make after his stellar freshman season: to enter the NBA Draft or return to Maryland for his sophomore season. Trimble, who was projected to be a first-round pick had he departed in 2015, chose the latter, hoping to raise his stock by returning to a loaded Terps team for another year.

Five years later, the point guard admitted that he wished he had left for the NBA Draft after one season with Maryland.

"Unfortunately, freshman year I could’ve left and been in the NBA and probably still be there now," Trimble said on Anthony Cowan’s One Stop podcast. "I decided to stay in college [until] my junior year and looking back on it, of course, I wish I would have left, but it is what it is. That’s life."

As a sophomore, Trimble saw his per-game averages take a slight dip. However, to the point guard's defense, Trimble returned to a Maryland team that was, on paper, one of the most talented in program history.

The Terps entered the 2015-16 season ranked No. 7 in the country and had a lineup that featured Trimble, five-star freshman center Diamond Stone, former Duke star Rasheed Sulaimon, and current Minnesota Timberwolves forward Jake Layman. All that goes without mentioning Robert Carter, a power forward transfer from Georgia Tech, who was the team's second-leading scorer. Maryland reached the Sweet 16 that season before getting blown out by Kansas.

"They think freshman year I averaged 17, the next year I have to average 20," Trimble said. "My sophomore year was me, Rob Carter, Jake Layman, Rasheed Sulaimon. Like come on now, that’s the whole team right there with everybody scoring.

"I’m not going to go out there and have 18 points. I didn’t understand why people felt I had to be great, I mean I had to be great, but like another level from the year before as far as points-wise," Trimble continued. "I’m a point guard at the end of the day, my sophomore year I felt like I learned how to pass the ball. Freshman year I didn’t pass at all. Looking back on it, I’m kind of happy I did stay. I had to learn how to be a PG."

Trimble also said that another factor that weighed into his decision to stay at Maryland was the tight-knit brotherhood he formed with his teammates.

"At Maryland, it was like a brotherhood. We bonded well and it was like, 'I don’t want to leave this for some money,'" Trimble said. "At the time, the following year I could have got drafted as well. Certain things happen, I got hurt and it is what it is. It wasn’t easy to say I’m not going to go to the NBA and stay."

The point guard ended up returning for his junior season, too, as Maryland saw Stone, Sulaimon, Carter and Layman all depart for the draft following the 2015-16 season. The Terps had their share of ups and downs in 2016-17 but still earned a sixth seed in the NCAA Tournament. However, their time in March Madness was short-lived, as the Terps were bounced by 11th-seeded Xavier in the opening round.

After his junior season, Trimble had no reason to stay at Maryland anymore. He entered the draft, but all 60 picks went by without the Upper Marlboro native hearing his name. 

Trimble played for the Philadelphia 76ers summer league team in 2017 and joined the Minnesota Timberwolves that fall for training camp. He was one of the final players cut ahead of the season. Trimble spent his first year removed from Maryland playing for the Iowa Wolves of the NBA G-League but didn't have much overall success.

Over the past two years, Trimble has found plenty of success playing in the NBL in Australia, the same league that top draft prospects LaMelo Ball and R.J. Hampton played in last season. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Trimble had signed an agreement with the European club CB Estudiantes, one of the most recognized teams in Spain.

While the 25-year-old still has NBA aspirations, he knows those likely could have been fulfilled had he left school two years earlier than he did.

"I might be able to get there one day, I might not," Trimble said.

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Former Terps Jalen Smith, Melo Trimble take issue with Big Ten Network's All-Decade team

Former Terps Jalen Smith, Melo Trimble take issue with Big Ten Network's All-Decade team

The Big Ten Network released its All-Decade team on Wednesday evening, and zero former Maryland basketball players made any of the three teams.

Naturally, several former Terps, including three-year star point guard Melo Trimble and All-American center Jalen Smith, were fed up with the committee's selection. 

Trimble took to Twitter to share his dismay, tweeting a simple "Smh" with the facepalm emoji.

https://twitter.com/_STAYMELO/status/1275968333150650371

Smith, who has plenty of arguments to be named to one of the three teams in his own right, also couldn't believe that Trimble was omitted from the All-Decade announcement.

In his three teams with the Terps, Trimble averaged 15.9 points, 3.7 rebounds and 3.9 assists per night. When the point guard arrived in College Park in the summer of 2014, head coach Mark Turgeon's program had seen five players transfer that same year. As a freshman, Trimble, along with then-senior Dez Wells, brought respect back to the Terps program, leading them to one of the best regular seasons in school history.

While Trimble's college career may not have rivaled first-team guard selections Trey Burke and Denzel Valentine, or even second-team honoree Cassius Winston, an argument can be made for the ex-Terp guard over Aaron Craft, Yogi Ferrell and even Victor Oladipo.

In his four seasons at Ohio State, Craft averaged a modest 8.9 points per game, only averaging double-digits once. His rebound (3.7) and assist numbers (4.9) rival Trimble's. Sure, Craft played one more year than Trimble did, but his impact on the court on a nightly basis is not comparable to what Trimble did for the Terps.

Oladipo played three seasons for Indiana, the same amount Trimble played for the Terps. Trimble's career numbers are better than Oladipo's, and the Indiana guard had the fortune of playing alongside fellow NBA lottery pick Cody Zeller, something Trimble never had. Oladipo is obviously the better player now, but in college, Trimble was just as feared, if not more. 

Ferrell had an incredible three-year stretch for Indiana, putting up numbers similar to Trimble's, but Indiana did not have the annual success that Trimble's Terps did (both teams did make the Sweet 16 in 2016, however). Both guards had similar careers in college, yet the committee chose to go with the four-year player from the Big Ten's most storied program over Trimble.

While Smith also voiced his displeasure that Trimble was left off the All-Decade team, the center better known as "Stix" has every reason to be upset he himself wasn't named to the squad. Smith was named a third-team AP All-American, the first Terp to be named one since Greivis Vasquez in 2010. Stix averaged a double-double for the Terps this past season and was one of the most dominant players in the conference.

Since Maryland joined the conference ahead of the 2014-15 season, they've been one of the Big Ten's best basketball programs. They've made the NCAA Tournament every year but 2018 and were co-regular season conference champions this past season.

While several players on the All-Decade team were plenty deserving of their selections, so were Trimble and Smith, too. To leave both former Terps off the list slightly discredits the impact they made during their time in College Park.

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Former Maryland star Melo Trimble signs with professional team in Spain

Former Maryland star Melo Trimble signs with professional team in Spain

Former Maryland basketball star Melo Trimble will continue his basketball trip around the globe in Spain, as the guard inked a one-year deal with Montakit Fuenlabrada of Liga ACB, he told InsideMDSports.

Trimble rose to prominence during his three seasons at the University of Maryland, which included a phenomenal freshman year in which he averaged 16.2 points per game during the 2014-15 season. He would up that total during his junior year, averaging 16.8 points per contest.

The point guard's time as a Terp not only helped the program regain an elite status in the Big Ten but put him in the record books as he left the school with 1,658 points, good enough for 14th all-time.

RELATED: 7 BEST POINT GUARDS IN MARYLAND HISTORY

Following his junior season, Trimble declared for the NBA Draft but was not selected during the two rounds of the 2017 draft. He initially found success in the G-League, averaging 16.2 points and 5.3 assists per game with the Iowa Wolves. Trimble has since shined in the NBL in Australia/New Zealand, averaging 22.5 points per game with Cairns in 2018-19, and 19.4 points per game with Melbourne United in 2019-20.

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Now, he'll look to continue his strong play in Spain's top league. However, despite his success in international play, Trimble still has his sites set on one day making it to the NBA. It's why he continues to only commit to teams for one year at a time.

"I'm still pushing for the NBA. No multi-year deals yet," Trimble told InsideMDSports.

His contract with Montakit Fuenlabrada does reportedly contain an option for him to opt-out of the deal should the NBA come calling at any point.

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