The Maryland Terrapins or Terps have been consistent over the last several seasons, turning up almost every season to the NCAA tournament, but the percentage of players that find a place in the NBA is lacking. Even players that seemed like a sure thing are finding themselves struggling, like Melo Trimble, who left the University of Maryland Terps after his junior year to enter the NBA draft, and at this time still has no firm place in the pros, in the NBA or even overseas.
Things looked different last summer, just before the NBA Draft than they do right now for the University of Maryland basketball players who had declared their eligibility for the draft. Jake Layman, Rasheed Sulaimon, Diamond Stone, and Robert Carter, Jr. all entered the NBA draft in 2016, and the only one who still has a job in the NBA is Jake Layman. Add in Dez Wells, who graduated from the University of Maryland the year before, and Melo Trimble, who left Maryland this year after completing his junior year, and still the only player with a firm job in the NBA is still only Jake Layman.
No disrespect to Jake Layman, who is a consistent player who delivered for the Maryland Terps throughout his four years at the University, but many of the other players listed had much bigger buzz as first round NBA prospects.
Melo Trimble, who is from the state of Maryland, has spent most of his basketball-playing life as a pretty big deal, from his time at Bishop O’Connell High School to his time as a McDonald’s All-American to a top-tier recruit to the University of Maryland. There was even talk after each year Melo Trimble completed with the Terps that he might enter the NBA draft. Trimble started for the University of Maryland from day one and was a solid contributor each season.
But instead of going up each year, Melo Trimble’s stock went down, and at the end of the 2017 NBA draft, he found himself without a job. Trimble played for the Philadelphia 76ers summer league where he got very little playing time, but still, his attitude is good, as Maryland fans have come to expect.
“In the position I’m in, not being drafted and trying to make a team and all that, I’m not going to be the first or second option. I might not be an option at all. But I’m going to do my role, and these next couple years for me is just getting where I fit in.”
Then there is Diamond Stone who played one year at the University of Maryland before entering the NBA draft and getting picked 40th by New Orleans but quickly traded to the Los Angeles Clippers. Though Stone wasn’t a great fit at Maryland, being nearly seven feet tall certainly helped him have success in the draft. But Diamond Stone only played at total of twenty-four minutes for the Los Angeles Clippers, and now, like Melo Trimble, he finds himself without a job.
Most University of Maryland fans would agree that even though Stone has height and talent, he lacks polish and maturity. Stone’s low point at the University of Maryland was when Coach Mark Turgeon made him sit out a game after he lost his temper and intentionally bounced another Big 10 player’s head off the floor.
Robert Flom of Clips Nation said that Diamond Stone didn’t exactly impress anyone in his first and perhaps only season in the NBA.
“Even with the various injuries the Clippers sustained throughout the season, Stone never saw real minutes. Worse, he barely even played in garbage time, and when he did, he didn’t look particularly good.”
It’s possible that Diamond Stone is going to end up with Rasheed Sulaimon, Robert Carter, Jr., Dez Wells, and perhaps Melo Trimble playing basketball in Europe, at least for the next year.
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But the University of Maryland Terrapin who still has a job in the NBA is small forward Jake Layman, who plays for the Portland Trail Blazers. Joe Chambers of Fansided says that Layman is young, but has his strengths.
“He’s shown us he can shoot the three. Personally, I think it’s the best part of the game. He is tall for his position, so that puts him at an advantage for the Blazers. At the three, he can hold his own against other wings. The Blazers even have the option to play him at the four, which is tremendous.”
It’s unclear what the coming season holds for the University of Maryland Terps, but Coach Mark Turgeon was able to convince Justin Jackson to withdraw from the NBA draft to return for his sophomore season. The 6-foot-7 forward will join sophomore guard Kevin Huerter in returning to the Terp bench for a second season.
What could the University of Maryland basketball program do differently to prepare its players for the NBA?
[Featured Image by Patrick Smith/Getty Images]