It’s August. The Olympics are on. Football is approaching and hoops is in the distant future. But as we did last summer and the summer before that, we’re day-dreaming of Melo Trimble putting up game-winning shots in a Terrapins jersey. We aren’t the only ones, either. Opposing coaches are envisioning the rising junior pulling up for a buzzer-beating three-pointer in their team’s uniform.
The Maryland guard took 9 percent of the vote behind Duke’s Grayson Allen (13 percent), Washington’s Markelle Fultz (12) and Duke’s Harry Giles (10). The latter two are incoming freshman projected to go in the lottery of the 2016 draft.
College Park has truly been spoiled these past two seasons, particularly last year. Trimble was one of five professional-bound players on a roster oozing with talent that “disappointingly” finished with a Sweet Sixteen outing in March. He finished on a statistical “down-year” which saw him average 14.8 points per game, 4.9 assists and 3.8 rebounds. He struggled in the season’s final months to find his range; and the 41 percent three-point shooting freshman posted a number 10 percent lower as a sophomore, but damn, the man was still one of the country’s top guards. That image hasn’t wavered. In fact, it may have strengthened.
"Most people would consider last season a poor outing for Melo, but I didn't,” said one coach to CBS. “Maryland added new players, and he held his own. People said the same things about Yogi Ferrell a year ago and look what did last season. Melo is battle-tested. He's seen every look known to man from opposing defenses, has played in every hostile environment there is, and most of the time he had his team right there at the end with a chance to win it. He excels in all facets to me. He can shoot it with range when he's feeling it, go by you off the bounce, handle it by getting where he wants to go with it, and he can pull up mid-range off pick-and-rolls and put it in the pocket on passes. Bottom line, is I trust him with the ball and my team."
That last line does it. “I trust him with the ball and my team.”
That’s why so many preseason sports writers are struggling to leave Maryland out of their way-too-early top-25 rankings despite the team losing four starters, and replacing them with good, but not Diamond Stone-level talent.
With Trimble, Maryland can never be counted out.