COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Head coach Mark Turgeon and the Maryland men's basketball staff welcome center Diamond Stone to the Terps for the class of 2015.
A McDonald's All-American, Stone (6-10, 245) is rated as a consensus top 10 player by a myriad of national recruiting services, including Rivals.com - No. 6; ESPN.com - No. 7 and 247 Sports.com - No. 10. Stone is arguably one of the highest-rated recruits to join Maryland.
With Melo Trimble (2014) and Stone (2015) joining the Terps, it marks the first time in 22 years that Maryland has inked consecutive Top 25 prospects in successive years (Duane Simpkins, 1992 and Keith Booth, 1993). The last interior player to sign with Maryland who had garnered a top-30 ranking was Travis Garrison - ranked No. 29 in 2002.
"Maryland has a great group of guys who I can see myself playing with next year," Stone said. "I'm looking forward to playing for Coach Turgeon. He's a great coach, he loves to win and he knows how to develop his players. I'm excited about this opportunity. I'm just looking forward to starting a new chapter of my life."
"This was a four-year process in which we developed a great relationship with Diamond and his parents," Turgeon said. "He fits perfectly with the personality of our team. Diamond is an old-school low post player who is a skilled shooter, passer and ball handler. He runs well, has terrific hands and has an insatiable desire to be great. Diamond loves Maryland and wants to win at the highest level."
Stone, who starred at Dominican High School in Milwaukee, Wis., led his high school team to four straight state championships. As a senior, he averaged 24.4 points, 11.7 rebounds and 3.0 blocks per game. He established a Wisconsin state record with 14 blocked shots in the 2012 state semifinal and also finished the game with a triple-double, notching 15 points, 15 rebounds and 14 blocks. Stone was named Wisconsin Associated Press Player of the Year as a senior.
Additionally, Stone is a member of the 2014 USA U-17 World Championship Team and was named to the FIBA U-17 World Championship All-Tournament Team. He averaged 13.6 points and 7.2 rebounds and led the USA U-16 Team to a gold medal and a 5-0 record in tournament play.
Earlier this month, Stone scored 14 points on a 7-for-9 performance from the field and added three rebounds and two blocks in the prestigious 2015 McDonald's All-American game. He led the East team to a 111-91 win over the West squad.
"I think he's going to flourish. He's a great teammate and a great passer," Bob Stone, Diamond's father, said. "I think he will go and fit right into the scheme of the game and accomplish really great things at Maryland."
"Coach Turgeon, he just seems like a really genuine person and he really cares. I just felt really comfortable having my son go to school and be under him," Cynthia Oliver-Stone, Diamond's mother said. "When we went to visit the campus, looking at Diamond and the type of person he is, it was a great fit. I could visualize my son, being at this school, outside of basketball, but being at this particular school."
Stone joins Jaylen Brantley, who signed with Maryland this past November. A 247sports.com four-star recruit out of high school, Brantley was ranked the 12th JUCO Player in America by Next Up Recruits. The 5-foot-11 Springfield, Mass., native comes to Maryland from Odessa (Tex.) Community College. Brantley will have three years of eligibility at Maryland.
WHAT THEY ARE SAYING ABOUT DIAMOND STONE:
Derek Berger - Dominican High School, Head Coach
"Diamond is a phenomenal basketball player. I had the privilege to watch him mature over the last four years. His skillset is incredible and continues to improve due to his strong work ethic. Diamond's will to be successful is unmatched. He brought that will to Dominican and was able to win four state championships. Diamond is a dedicated student-athlete who will hopefully bring that great success to Maryland."
Coach DeShawn Curtis - AAU Coach
"He's a gamer. A big-time player. Extremely-skilled guy who thrives in competition. Loves to play the game. Power scorer. You don't find too many guys that fundamentally sound who play with the flair that he does as well."
Paul Biancardi - ESPN, National Director of Recruiting
"I have followed Diamond for his four years in high school. He has a big body, and utilizes his frame with soft hands as he is the best low threat in the class. He provides coach Mark Turgeon with a bona-fide low post threat. Diamond is an elite player based on his size and ability to score with his back to the basket."
"Diamond has an advanced low post game. On the catch he locates his defender and begins to go to work. If the double team comes, he does a good job of reading and reacting to it and makes the pass out of the post. He also has a good face-up game. Diamond is a skilled big man with great instincts and is a legit one-on-one threat in the post, he is someone that Maryland can play to and through inside on the blocks."
Evan Daniels, Scout.com, Director of Basketball Recruiting
"This is a significant addition. Diamond is the best post-player in the country. He has great touch, can score on the block, is a good shot blocker and is one of the elite big men in the country. Diamond will make an immediate impact and is a big signing for Mark Turgeon and the University of Maryland."
Jay Williams - ESPN, College Basketball Analyst
"Diamond is a rising star within the game of college basketball. His agility, basketball IQ and relentless pursuit will make him a spectacular player. His ability to attack the rim is tremendous. With the addition of Diamond, along with Robert Carter, Damonte Dodd and Michal Cekovsky, Maryland could potentially have the best frontcourt in the country."