Welcome back friends. When I last left you a week ago we were discussing a matchup between Trayvon Reed, Jared Nickens, Malik Ellison and Georges Papagiannis. Four players of Maryland interest was a lot to digest.
Today we have something a little different. One player. Well, not exactly one because there were some other pretty interesting performances, but one to focus on. I am of course talking about Romelo Trimble, 6-2 point guard out of Bishop O'Connell High School in Arlington, Virginia. Trimble is a composite 4 star, the 2nd ranked player in Virginia, 6th ranked point guard in the class of 2014 and top 40 overall.
Sunday saw O'Connell host fellow WCAC power St. John's College High School. Coming into this season O'Connell was supposed to be rebuilding after losing some major talent to graduation but they have run to first place in the conference on the back of Trimble. St. John's is led by Georgetown commit Tre Campbell, Miami commit James Palmer and star 2016 Maryland target Anthony Cowan.
In a packed gym with Dion Wiley, Mark Turgeon and Mark Turgeon's son watching, Trimble showed exactly why Maryland fans should be very excited for his arrival.
First, I want to get one thing out of the way: Trimble is a point guard. He's not a combo guard or a shooting guard playing the one, none of that. He is a point guard. Starting from the first possession of the game he showed why.
In O'Connell's offense the ball always runs through him. I came into the game expecting Melo to force up shots but he is always looking to pass first and get his teammates involved (well, not always, but we will get to that). He registered an assist for the first points of the game. On the next possession he came right down the court, crossed up Campbell and scored on a very smooth layup. At the other end he drew a charge on a St. John's fast break.
It is also very obvious that everyone on both teams knew that Trimble was the best player on the floor. He was doubled every time he touched the ball, from baseline to baseline. As a result, throughout the first quarter he deferred quite a bit. He got another assist and missed a few pull up jumpers in transition to end to the period with O'Connell leading 17-16.
The second quarter was more of the same but I started to notice Melo drift a little on defense. He lost his man a few times leading to some open jumpers. He did play some solid one-on-one defense although he wasn't challenged all that much. St. John's passes a lot, the ball never really stopped moving, so it was hard to get a good read on his defense as a whole.
Trimble has a beautiful assist where he drew two men to him while driving the lane and fed his center Oumar Barry (2015, Maryland has shown some interest) for an easy dunk. He was fouled a few minutes later and while attempting his free throws the St. John's fans in attendance chanted "Turgeon's watching!" They did that all game and Turgeon got a kick out of it.
In this period I also couldn't help but notice Trimble's backcourt mate Jamaal King Jr. He's a 2015 guard only being recruited by mid majors like Southern Miss and Monmouth. The kid is short but he has a deadly first step and just quick as hell. He is not an ACC or B1G level player but, man, he was fun to watch. He got the ball from Trimble on the right side, crossed up Cowan, blew by the center and finished at the rim. Some program is going to be really lucky to land him.
The second ended with Trimble getting past Cowan for a layup and hitting two more free throws. Game tied 30-30.
Throughout the first half he had let the came come to him, but in the second Trimble started to assert himself more. At first it wasn't really a good thing. He got a few assists, but forced some missed threes and picked up a flurry of fouls, at least two of which were offensive.
This is a good place to note that the officiating in this game was atrocious. The coaches were furious all game and came very close to getting technicals on multiple occasions. The fans on both sides were apoplectic and let the refs know it. This will come up again later. By the end of the quarter it was 48-42 O'Connell, but Trimble had four fouls.
To start the fourth Trimble sat for the first time all game, which only lasted a minute. That would be the only minute he wasn't on the court until the game ended. While most players would let foul trouble hinder their game, it woke Trimble up in a big way. It wasn't that he had been playing poorly but he took it to a different level when his team needed him most.
St. John's, behind some big plays from Campbell, Darian Anderson and James Palmer, raced to 58-50 lead with four minutes left. Melo got fouled and went to the line with the visiting fans going crazy, chanting at O'Connell coach Joe Wootten to sit him. He hit both, cutting the lead to six.
With 1:20 left he hit his first three off a curl at the top of the key, over the hands of two defenders. The gym went crazy. Three point game. On the next possession St. John's had to force up a shot as the shot clock wound down. Trimble got the rebound, raced down the court sized up his man, stepped back and drained another three. Tie game, 62-62, 35 seconds left. He had scored the last 8 points of the game. I wrote in my notes, "Cold F-----G Blooded."
With the clock winding down St. John's turned the ball over with 5 seconds left. Trimble got the ball and hoisted a running shot from near midcourt that hit every part of the rim but the bottom. I could have sworn that ball was going in. Overtime.
After he had a three blocked, Melo hit a very tough floater in the lane through a lot of contact. After another two made free throws it was 72-67. Campbell hit a long three to cut the lead to two before a steal and layup tied the game. Double overtime.
Trimble yet again showed a willingness to pass up a good shot for a better shot when he drove into the lane, drew the defense and passed to a wide open teammate for a corner three to start the period. On the next possession he hit a pull up jumper from 18 feet. The lead would grow to 78-74 before the first of a string of very, very questionable calls.
First, with just over two minutes left, Trimble was called for the quickest 10-second violation I have ever seen. Then after Cowan hit two free throws to cut the lead to two Melo drove to the basket, drew contact and was whistled for an offensive foul, his fifth and his games was over. A deep three with 35 seconds left by Palmer would give St. John's the lead and the game ended 82-80.
The final line for Trimble was a game high 26 points to go with 8 assists and 4 rebounds.
My finals thoughts are pretty simple: this kid is really, really good. He is always under control and always has his head up. He's a very willing passer who always looks to get his teammates involved, but if he needs to take over he'll do it and he will destroy you. His jumper was off all game but when his team needed him most he stepped up and hit two massive threes.
On a more technical note, Trimble's jumper is compact and effortless. He has a very quick release, and with his size he is able to get it off over anyone that is guarding him. He is also adept at creating enough space to hit threes and midrange shots, something the current Maryland team could use a lesson in.
Nothing about him is flashy. He won't dunk over anyone, throw a behind the back pass, break any ankles or hit many circus shots. He knows exactly what he is and that is just a rock solid point guard.
I honestly would not be surprised if Trimble was staring game one next season. I've said it before but he is exactly the kind of guy Maryland needs to on this team, someone smooth and composed to keep the team under control and run the offense.
More than anything, Maryland has a damn good basketball player heading to College Park next season.
Look what we found! DMVElite has video of the game (h/t @TMagTerp). For reference, Trimble is #10 in white, Cowan is #0 in red, Palmer is #12 in red, King Jr. is #2 in white, Campbell is #1 in red.