Diamond Stone's Maryland basketball career is officially over after one season. The five-star freshman center has signed with an agency, rendering him ineligible for NCAA play as he formally declares for the NBA Draft.
Maryland guard Melo Trimble, a sophomore, also declared for the draft but declined to hire an agent. So he could be back, but at least 80 percent of Maryland's starting lineup – Stone, Robert Carter Jr., Jake Layman and Rasheed Sulaimon – will not be. The 2016-17 Terps will look drastically different, and time will tell if it's a rebuilding or a reloading.
Stone signed with Tandem Sports + Entertainment, an agency that also represents Tim Duncan, Grant Hill and Ray Allen, among a lengthy list of other men's and women's basketball players.
"Diamond possesses enormous talent," Tanner said in a Tandem release. "He added energy to Maryland and helped the Terps maintain top rankings throughout the season. We are looking forward to helping Diamond prepare for the NBA Draft this summer, and supporting him in this next exciting chapter of his career."
It made good financial sense for Stone – a likely first-round pick – to go pro after just a season, despite some developmental things he could have improved at Maryland. He can probably improve them in the NBA, only he can do it there while being paid.
Stone's spoke in a university release, alongside Maryland coach Mark Turgeon:
"I want to thank the University of Maryland and Coach Turgeon for an unbelievable experience this past year," Stone said. "Coach Turgeon really pushed me to get better each and every day. My family and I spent a great deal of time discussing my future and we felt this was the best decision as I pursue my dream of playing professional basketball. I want to also thank all of the Terp fans and the students on campus who have been very supportive since the day I arrived to College Park. It means a great deal to me," Stone said. "I'll always be a Terp for Life."
For his part, Turgeon was highly complimentary:
"When we first met with Diamond and his family, one of our goals was to help him achieve his dream of playing in the NBA," Turgeon said. "Diamond has always been a very skilled and talented offensive player, but he worked hard in other facets of his game this past year. He has vastly improved his strength and conditioning and has made strides defensively. This will be beneficial as Diamond pursues a career in professional basketball. We are happy for Diamond and wish both him and his family the very best."
Stone scored 12.5 points per game in college and averaged 5.4 rebounds.