Nov 24, 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; Maryland Terrapins guard Melo Trimble (2) shoots a layup as Arizona State Sun Devils forward Jonathan Gilling (31) defends during the first half at Sprint Center. Maryland Terrapins won 78-73. Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports
Maryland faced their first marquee opponent of the young season, and did not disappoint. Led by a superb effort from freshman guard Melo Trimble, Maryland eged Arizona State in the CBE Hall of Fame Classic. Here are what we learned about the Terrapins on Monday evening.
- Trimble can be sensational – This was the coming out party for Melo Trimble. The star of Mark Turgeon’s 2014 recruiting class showed just how explosive of a player he can be. Whether it was spotting up from beyond the arc or making his way into the lane, Trimble found the bottom of the net on his way to a 31-point outing. Trimble’s 31 points nearly broke the record for points by a freshman. However, the record does still belong to Joe Smith, who netted 33 points as a freshman. Through the first three games, Trimble looked tentative at times, and really never put a full game together. If this is a sign of things to come, Maryland may be a much better team than many have given it credit for.
- Wells the playmaker – Throughout his two years in College Park, Dez Wells has been inconsistent at times, and had yet to make the jump to elite guard status. However, it appears as though Wells is being the role of senior star playmaker early on this season. The Raleigh native scored 12 of his 14 points in the second half after Trimble was the star in the opening half. However, it wasn’t just about putting the ball in the basket against the Sun Devils for Wells. The Xavier transfer also took attention away from guys like Trimble and Jake Layman in order to draw defenses towards him and allow Wells to find the open man. Wells also grabbed eight rebounds, dished out four assists, and recorded four steals for the Terps. When he’s in the zone, there are few capable of containing Wells.
- Success at the free-throw line – In recent years, free-throw shooting has been a pressing issue for the Terps. Maryland only shot 67.9 percent from the charity stripe as a team last season, as well as only one player (Wells) shooting above 80 percent at the line. Missed free throws was an issue in the first three games, and while misses won’t kill a team when you’re playing Wagner and Central Connecticut State, Big Ten teams will take advantage of those missed points and turn them into points of their own. Against Arizona State, Maryland shot 88.9 percent (16-of-18) from the line. Part of the reason for the success was the fact that Trimble was able to get into the lane so frequently and attack the rim. Through four games, Trimble is a 83.3 percent free-throw shooter, so his presence definitely bodes well in terms of Maryland’s chances to improve from the line.
- Protecting the rim – The Terps didn’t have the most dominant frontcourt during the 2013-14 season. However, things are very different this season despite Maryland being quite young. On Monday evening, Maryland blocked at least five shots for the third time in four games. Center Damonte Dodd isn’t known for being a force on the offensive end, but the Eastern Shore native is valued for his defensive acumen. Against the Sun Devils, Dodd blocked four shots, and was disruptive force inside at times. With freshman Michal Cekovsky still learning, it’s important for Dodd to assert himself defensively. Cekovsky is coming along nicely thus far, and does have six blocks on the season. The dynamic duo of Maryland big men have 15 blocks between them. To things in perspective, Dodd only had nine blocks all of last season, and already has nine four games into the 2014-15 campaign. While there’s still plenty of room for these twin towers to grow, the Terps look to have two solid rim protectors, something that they lacked with Shaquille Cleare and Charles Mitchell a season ago.