Maryland basketball preview: Melo Trimble leads a revamped roster ready to compete for Big Ten and national championships.
This article originally appeared in the the Nov. 9, 2015, issue of Sports Illustrated. Subscribe to the magazine here.
As a freshman, Melo Trimble led the Terrapins in minutes (33.5 per game) and scoring (16.2 points). He was also one of their worst points-per-possession defenders. Essentially, the 6'3" playmaker was nonstop—on both ends of the court. “Coach [Mark] Turgeon told me he really couldn’t take me out because I scored a lot,” Trimble says, “but my defense was terrible.”
Maryland should suffer fewer defensive deficiencies this winter. A team that led the Big Ten in field goal percentage D (39.5% shooting allowed) is bigger with the additions of 6'9" junior forward Robert Carter Jr., a transfer from Georgia Tech, and 6'11" freshman Diamond Stone. And with that extra depth behind him, the Terps’ most valuable player can push his defensive aggression. “[Trimble] will be allowed to foul,” Turgeon said. “Last year he’d get a foul, and it would be, ‘I don’t want to even see two.’”
Although Trimble scored in the 90th percentile nationally in transition (1.345 points per possession), spot-up (1.259) and isolation (1.027) scenarios, per Synergy Sports data, he craved a more complete game. So he watched film of Clippers guard Chris Paul to learn how to stay active and spearhead a defense. “It’s [about] not being lazy,” Trimble says. “I want to take pride in it. I want to be able to check anyone.”
Rasheed Sulaimon, 6'4" senior guard
Sulaimon was averaging 7.5 points at Duke before being dismissed from the program last January for failing to meet team standards. Will the 6'4" senior guard be productive or divisive in College Park?
“Our offense should be a little more consistent this year. We’ll have more balance. We’ll have an inside-outside game. It changes everything. It was amazing what our team did, to win as many games as we won (28) and not have a true low-post presence. When the game is not going the way you want it to go, you know every coach is throwing that sucker to the best guy on the block. We are bigger. And we want to stay big. We were No. 1 in the league last year in field goal percentage defense—we think we can be better this year.” — Mark Turgeon
Projected depth chart
|Robert Carter, Jr.||PF||10.1||7.9||0.8||110.4||21%||61%|
Projected conference race
|conference rank||team||projected Conf. record||last year's Conf. record|