Maryland basketball and Melo Trimble remain in a state of uncertainty as the clock runs out on the point guard's decision to officially declare for the NBA Draft. As it's been for the last two years, the ball is in Trimble's court, and he'll have to make his move by Wednesday, consistent with a new NCAA rule for players who declare for the draft without hiring agents.
If there's a time for Trimble to leave, that time is now for Maryland, as Mark Turgeon and his staff are prepared to bring in four-star point guard Anthony Cowan to tandem with last year's backup, Jaylen Brantley. In that sense, the team is as ready to lose the biggest star it's had in years as it could possibly be.
But the Terrapins fell short of their goal last season, and College Park is still salivating at the thought of postseason success. The thought of a rebuilding year seems cruel after the whirlwind of emotions felt with the highs and lows of the season that could have been. But if Trimble leaves, that's what Maryland's looking at. Frankly, even with Trimble, there's no guarantee the Terps will claim a spot in the NCAA Tournament. But after watching the magic he sparked in his freshman campaign, there'd be some hope.
Melo Trimble's moment
Maryland can't expect to replace the talent it lost so quickly, but hanging on to Trimble is a surefire way to get back to where they want to go, or at least headed in that direction.
Melo Trimble and Maryland basketball have become synonymous. With his improved passing, players want to share a court with him. They've already seen his buzzer-beating highlights, witnessed his name trending on Twitter (a lot), seen Stephen Curry invite him to his summer camp and watched him play for Team USA at the Pan-American Games. They've seen things like this:
The chance to play with Melo Trimble is the dagger of an offer that could sway four-star forward Justin Jackson to Maryland and build some hype into the rather dreary months the Running Man Challenge can only sustain for so long. Jackson almost seems like a necessity after losing Robert Carter Jr. and Jake Layman.
This season is as important as it gets for the Terrapins as well. The team has played basketball deep into March in consecutive seasons and is just starting to restore its name to relevance. Dion Wiley's return will be huge, but it's tough for any team to lose the bulk of its starting lineup, and losing Trimble would mean Maryland's lost all of it.
But the university doesn't come first in this process. The player does. While most will selfishly convince themselves that he needs another year in school, what do we know?
Perversely, Trimble is old for this. He's a 21-year-old rising junior vying to join a league where age matters. Though he may not be a first-round pick, there is potential for him to be, and all it takes is one team to show that level interest. Trimble has also already said he wouldn't mind being an early second-round pick, hinting he's probably looking to leave college no matter his draft position.
It might be a good move for him to keep his name in the draft anyway. It takes NBA players three years on average to work their way into playing at a league average level by win share measures. It's better to start that process as early as possible to maximize the money he can make in his career.
Trimble has the talent to prosper in the league, but the odds are also stacked against due to his size. He measured in at the combine at 6'2.5, which isn't an issue, but his really tight 6'2 wingspan is. He posted quick agility times, but his defensive limitations were exposed in the five-on-five scrimmages.
Nobody thinks Trimble is ready to play major NBA minutes right away, but there's also no clear reason to think another year in college will help with these issues. After all, a second season of Maryland hoops arguably worsened his draft stock.
Trimble has been wise with his decision, taking the maximum time available to make the right one. Few players have contributed to a program what he has in just two years, so let's not jump to conclusions when his mind is made up.
Respect his decision, and appreciate all he's done. Stay Melo.