Maryland’s main question coming into this season was if its many talented parts could form a cohesive whole. The Terrapins’ starting lineup would feature Rasheed Sulaimon, a graduate transfer from Duke; Robert Carter, a traditional transfer from Georgia Tech; Jake Layman, a senior who has been in the first five since midway through his freshman season; Diamond Stone, a potential one-and-done freshman; and Melo Trimble—an all-Big-Ten pick as a freshman last year and the man tasked with making that roster coalesce on the court each game.
Fortunately for the Terps, Trimble has proved more than able to take on the challenge. Although his scoring is down from a year ago, he is playing more efficiently than ever while leading Maryland in points (14.5), steals (1.3) and assists (5.4). While his scoring is down from 16.2 points per game last year, his assists per game have risen from 3.0 to 5.4, thanks in large part to all that talent around him. Just a sophomore, he has shown a rare ability to adapt his talents to suit his teammates’ strengths.
After leading the Terps to a 19–3 (8–2 Big Ten) start, Trimble was my guest this week on Wooden Watch, where he talked about the changes he made to his game this season, and the constant changes he makes to his hair.
Here are my top 10 candidates for player of the year:
1. Buddy Hield, senior guard, Oklahoma — 26.2 ppg, 5.9 rpg, 2.5 apg
2. Kris Dunn, junior guard, Providence — 17.4 ppg, 6.1 rpg, 6.9 apg
3. Jarrod Uthoff, senior forward, Iowa — 18.6 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 2.9 bpg
4. Denzel Valentine, senior guard, Michigan State — 18.5 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 6.6 apg
5. Brice Johnson, senior forward, North Carolina — 16.7 ppg, 10.2 rpg, 1.4 apg
6. Georges Niang, senior forward, Iowa State — 19 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 3.1 apg
7. Ben Simmons, freshman forward, LSU — 19.5 ppg, 12.5 rpg, 4.9 apg
8. Josh Hart, junior guard, Villanova — 15.6 ppg, 7.3 rpg, 1.6 apg
9. Melo Trimble — 14.5 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 5.4 apg
10. Malcolm Brogdon, senior guard, Virginia — 17.3 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 2.9 apg