InsideMDSports: Breaking down Terps hoops' pursuit of blue-chip center Diamond Stone

September 26, 2014|By Josh Stirn | Special to The Baltimore Sun

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This article has been updated to reflect the fact that Perry Dozier Jr., who was considering Maryland for his final official visit, will visit Louisville instead.

Diamond Stone, the top-ranked center and No. 5 player in the 247Sports Composite rankings for the Class of 2015 has a final five of Wisconsin, Connecticut, Duke, Oklahoma State and Maryland.

Stone’s recruitment has been kept quiet, with Wisconsin and Connecticut as the assumed favorites, although a report from 247Sports' Jerry Meyer has the Terps gaining momentum.

There was originally a lot of talk that Stone planned to play with top-ranked scoring guard Malik Newman, although that talk has faded a bit. Now that Stone has cut Kentucky, the perceived favorite for Newman, it looks even less likely.

Connecticut is the only school that can present them that opportunity now, but you have to wonder how serious the two sides are about playing together, as they've eliminated every other mutual school.

Stone doesn't appear to be a great fit for the Huskies, a team that usually features a shot-blocking center and ball-dominant guards. If Stone were to go there with Newman, he’d not only have to share the ball with Newman, one of the highest-scoring guards in high school basketball, but also with shoot-first Daniel Hamilton, Rodney Purvis, Sam Cassell Jr., Jalen Adams and Omar Calhoun. All are scoring guards, but they’ll be asked to play point, as they’re the only guards on the Huskies roster.

Wisconsin is the elephant in the room with Stone, and the most serious contender for Stone, in my opinion, but Maryland does have a lot to sell here.

Stone is a high-IQ player. His father, who leads his recruitment, is heavily involved in the process and does his due diligence to find the right fit. Stone is expected to take his time, go on all his officials and then make his decision.

Maryland likely would sell the Stones on the idea of playing with playing with a McDonald’s All-American-level guard who is smart and unselfish (Melo Trimble), two big men who can stretch the floor (Robert Carter and Michal Cekovsky) and a trio of shooters to spread the floor (Jake Layman, Dion Wiley and Jared Nickens) and allow the post-savvy big man to go to work in the paint.

We’ll see how it plays out.

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