With the season coming to a premature conclusion against West Virginia on Sunday evening, we’re going to begin our series of reviews of Maryland’s core players from the 2014-15 season. Here’s the first installment of our series of player reviews, which begins with point guard Melo Trimble.
2014-15 In Review:
Since the moment he committed to Maryland, Melo Trimble was expected to be an immediate impact player for the Terrapins. The degree became known when former Terp Seth Allen elected to transfer and leave Maryland with a significant void at the point guard position. Trimble was given the keys at the point guard spot and boy did he make his impact felt early on.
In the first three games of the season against the likes of Wagner, Central Connecticut State, and Fordham, the Bishop O’Connell product put up decent numbers, but didn’t need to carry the team as the level of competition was subpar at best. The Nov. 24 game against Arizona State was really his coming out party. Trimble racked up 31 points (7-of-11 from the floor) and led the Terps to their first marquee win of the season. It was also when Trimble put the college basketball world on notice that he was a wizard when it comes to getting to the free-throw line (connected on 13-of-14 free-throw attempts).
During non-conference play, Trimble averaged 15.8 points-per-game, 4.0 rebounds-per-game, and 3.1 assists-per-game in 13 games while scoring in double figures in 12 of those contests. While Trimble’s performance in non-conference was very impressive, it was really his play during the Big Ten schedule that put him on the map in terms of being one of the top freshmen in the country.
Conference play didn’t get off to a blazing start for Trimble as he only shot 2-of-13 (15.4 percent) from the field. The freshman star did end up with 17 points, but 12 of those came from the charity stripe. As I’m sure many Maryland fans remember, the first half of Michigan State game on Dec. 30 was one of the sloppiest halves of basketball you will ever see. Just two games later on Jan. 25, Trimble showed his true grit as he helped lead Maryland back from a second half deficit against Northwestern with a 27-point effort. Trimble scored four of the last six points, including two huge free throws with 21 seconds left. Of course, the game ended with guard Dez Wells’ heroic putback.
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When it was all said and done, Trimble turned in one of the most spectacular seasons that a Terp has had in quite some time. While it certainly ended on one of the most sour notes possible, the local product vaulted Maryland back into the national conversation and was aided by a true veteran in Wells. Trimble ended up with a stat line of 16.2 ppg/3.9 rpg/3.0 apg and was voted to the All-Big Ten First and Second Team, depending if you’re looking at the coaches or media ballots.
As I mentioned above, Trimble had a pretty high level of success the minute he stepped onto the college hardwood. The Upper Marlboro native really help carry the team to a 7-0 record to start off the season. He was one of the top scoring options when Wells was out of the lineup due to a broken wrist. During that seven-game stretch, Trimble averaged 16.6 ppg, 4.6 rpg, and 3.9 apg and played some of his best basketball of the season. Aside from the ACC/Big Ten Challenge game against Virginia, Trimble was very efficient as he shot 25-of-51 (49 percent) from the floor during the seven-game period.
One of the biggest positives in Trimble’s game was his rebounding ability. Only a handful of guards are known for their rebounding prowess and Trimble is in that select group. He’s just an incredibly savvy player and even recorded double-digit rebounding numbers on two occasions. Part of his rebounding success is due to his speed. On any loose ball, Trimble can outhustle just about any player in the country.
It’s pretty hard to find anything that’s a weakness when to comes to Trimble. He has all of the intangibles that you want your program’s floor general to possess. Based off his freshman season, it wasn’t a good thing that Trimble was Maryland’s only natural ball-handler. Trimble played a team-high 33.5 minutes-per-game and if he got into foul trouble, the Terps were in trouble. We saw this come to the forefront when Trimble was forced out of Maryland’s Third Round NCAA Tournament game against West Virginia. Without Trimble, Maryland’s offense looked out of sorts. If Trimble returns for his sophomore year, there won’t be as much of a reason to play him so many minutes. JuCo guard Jaylen Brantley should be able to take some of the point guard duties and that will also allow Trimble to play more off the ball.
Overall Grade: A+
When the dust settled, it was one hell of a freshman season for Trimble. He had one of the best seasons that Maryland had seen from a freshman in nearly 30 years. Trimble even rivaled former Terp Joe Smith for the all-time freshman scoring title. Trimble affected the game in so many ways from his scoring to his ability to draw fouls. Without Trimble’s contributions, there is no way that Maryland was an NCAA Tournament team this year.