The cat’s out of the bag about Maryland Terrapins freshman Melo Trimble. Following his 21 points first half (and 24 point overall) performance in a drubbing of the Michigan State Spartans this past Saturday, if you didn’t know about Trimble, now ya know.
Trimble did everything you’d expect from a freshman phenom. Dish out a couple nice assists, drain a bunch of three pointers, and break some ankles to hit a buzzer-beating NBA range three. His performance was notable for a lot of things, and doing it on national television is naturally just going to attract more attention with the a lot more eyes watching.
But how good is Trimble? That is to say, how does Trimble stack up against the rest of the highly rated freshmen that have walked through into College Park with major aspirations? At 16.1 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 3 assists per game, his numbers look more like a senior’s than a true freshman who was playing against 14-year old kids less than a year ago. Typically you can gain some perspective by stacking his numbers up against the past, so that’s what we did.
The results? It’s not really even close.
Top freshmen last 10 seasons at University of Maryland:
2013-14: Roddy Peters 4.1 Pts, 1.3 Reb, 2.1 Ast
2012-13: Seth Allen 7.8 Pts, 2.2 Reb, 2.3 Ast
2011-12: Nick Faust 8.9 Pts, 4.0 Reb, 2.1 Ast and Alex Len 6.0 Pts, 5.4 Reb, 2.1 Blk
2010-11: Terrell Stoglin: 11.4 Pts, 3.3 Ast
2009-10: Jordan Williams 9.6 Pts, 8.6 Reb
2008-09: Sean Mosley 5.3 Pts, 3.7 Reb
2007-08: Cliff Tucker 4.1 pts, 2.3 Reb
2006-07: Greivis Vasquez 9.8 Pts, 3.3 Reb, 4.6 Ast and Eric Hayes 4.8 Pts, 1.9 Reb, 3.9 Ast
2005-06: Dave Neal 1.0 Pts, 0.5 Reb, 0.1 Ast
2004-05: James Gist 6.2 Pts, 3.9 Reb, 0.5 Ast
Just going off statistics alone, it’s pretty clear that (so far, at least) Maryland hasn’t had a freshman like Trimble in over a decade of basketball. The Terrapins actually had some pretty strong freshman play during that stretch, including four NBA draft picks and a couple other guys who have made their name on the international stage. But none, not even the great Greivis Vasquez, come close to touching Trimble at this point.
The only real competition for him right now as being crowned the new Freshest Prince of C.P. (an accolade I have just made up on the spot) comes from three players: Greivis Vasquez, Jordan Williams, and Terrell Stoglin from the ’06-’07, ’09-’10, and the ’10-’11 seasons, respectively.
Vasquez’ freshman year was a phenomenal one by most standards. He wasn’t the scorer that Trimble is right now, but his impact on the game was just as substantial on the court. The previous year Maryland won a meager 19 games and missed the tournament, then this hybrid guard Vasquez steps onto the scene and catapults Maryland to 25 wins and an NCAA tournament berth. He dazzled with his playmaking on the court and gave the Terps a hard-nosed mentality with his tenacity and zest for the game.
With Stoglin, it was about raw numbers. 376 points scored during his freshman season, double figures in 18 games (despite only starting 15 games), and a stretch to end the year that saw him score 14 or more points in six of his final ten games. Stoglin was neither the passer that Trimble is nor the defender, but when he got minutes the kid could fill it up with the best of them.
Jordan Williams is a sleeper pick, but anyone who watched that kid during his freshman year at Maryland realized he was a truly special player. Undersized and a little bulkier than most, Williams was a monster on the boards and the still best post presence Maryland has had since Chris Wilcox and Lonny Baxter. Putbacks galore, strong finishes at the rim, Williams had a lot going for him. It’s no coincidence that as soon as he came to Maryland, the Terrapins improved to 24-9 and got to the second round of the NCAA tournament (before that game against Michigan State). Williams also joined a team with some seniors and juniors already in place, which helped tremendously.
But while it is still early, Trimble is lapping his predecessors already and then some. Maryland is on pace for a season far better than Vasquez’ freshman year, and a tournament berth seems very likely barring some unfortunate circumstances. He is scoring better than all three and distributing the ball almost on par with Vasquez, which is saying quite a bit. He’s also shown himself to be better at getting to the free throw line and controlling the game through that than even some of the seniors on the team.
That Trimble is doing this on a team that already has established upperclassmen in Wells, Smotrycz, Layman, and Pack makes it all the more impressive. He’s making the players around him better and elevating the team’s play with his leadership. That’s so rare for a freshman, so you just have to sit back and try to keep your jaw from hitting the floor too many times.
Enjoy him while he’s around, folks, because Trimble is making history.