Center Diamond Stone may be one of the biggest prospects to ever commit to Maryland and he showed why on Wednesday evening in the 2015 McDonald’s All-American Game.
In his first showing since announcing his intentions to play for the Terrapins, Stone scored 14 points (7-of-9 shooting) and grabbed three rebounds (two offensive) in 19 minutes for the East squad. Stone also blocked a pair of shots in the East’s 111-91 victory over the West.
Stone was second on his team in points to New York product and undecided forward Cheick Diallo, who had 18 points and 10 rebounds.
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Stone was downright impressive in several aspects of Wednesday’s game, but one of the things that stuck out was his ability to run the floor. If you didn’t know any better at times, you would think that Stone was a guard.
It was evident from the first West possession of the game that Stone could be a dominant force on the defensive end. Homestead (Ind.) center Caleb Swanigan got the ball down low and completely missed a shot in close while being defended by Stone. Just moments later, Stone rejected Callaway Miss.) guard Malik Newman on a fearless drive to the basket. Stone just seems to always know where to be on the defensive end.
As much of a force as Stone is on defense, he’s just as impressive on the offensive end. The Dominican (Wis.) big man had a spectacular drive on Swanigan in the first half in which he blew by Swanigan and converted the layup. Stone really does have the quickness of a guard at times, and is among one of the most skilled big men in this class.
In case you weren’t able to catch the game, here’s a beautiful putback dunk by Stone:
Simply put, Stone owned Swanigan on Wednesday evening. With 16:26 remaining in the opening half, Swanigan thought he had a loose ball coming his way when Stone used his quickness to knock the ball out of bounds and prevent the West from heading off the other way in transition.
With 16:14 left in the first half, Stone blocked another shots as he rejected Newman on another drive and it resulted in a fast break the other way for the East. ESPN analyst Jay Williams said that Stone is so active on the defensive end and is a gamer. Williams also mentioned that Maryland could win the Big Ten next year with guard Melo Trimble returning along with potentially forward Jake Layman and transfer forward Robert Carter.
Stone’s defensive presence affects the game in so many way different ways. His shot-altering skillset allows his teammates to get out in transition for easier baskets. With the type of athletes that Maryland currently has on their roster, the Terps could be one of the most dangerous teams around next season. The combination of Stone and Trimble should have Terps fans drooling and Wednesday was just a preview of what’s to come.
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