Melo Trimble made the decision that’s best for him.
He isn’t returning to Maryland basketball, the team he’s led in scoring for the last three years. Trimble could have decided to declare for the draft without an agent, keeping his college eligibility, but getting an agent means he can dive into the draft full-on.
He’s off to make money, whether that’s in the NBA or elsewhere.
But more than that, he’s moving forward instead of staying stationary. There wasn’t much he could prove by staying at Maryland. His biggest downsides — lack of length, relative lack of athleticism compared to NBA point guards — weren’t going anywhere with another year of college.
While it’s very true Trimble might not end up getting drafted — he isn’t projected to in DraftExpress’ latest mock draft — that doesn’t necessarily mean staying in school would have been the right call.
Trimble’s draft stock isn’t high. There’s no guarantee it’d be any higher next year, when he’d be a year older.
The classic retort when someone’s draft stock isn’t high isn’t high is: “well he should return to school. Surely he’ll be a much more attractive prospect with another year of seasoning under his belt.”
That’s not always true.
For a college junior looking to play in the NBA, Trimble is old. He’s 22, which means at this time next year he’d be looking for an NBA job at 23. Teams aren’t looking for 23-year-old rookies, and fair or not, Trimble could be seen as a finished product without much room for improvement.
Fighting for a spot in the D-League or playing overseas isn’t the most ideal scenario, but it’d be better to do it now then to wait a year and end up in the same place with less money and fewer chances.
Right now, he’s a healthy player who can enter the draft process knowing he’s in the best shape of his life, and could still sneak into the back end of the second round with a little luck and an impressive performance at the combine.
The argument that he should stay wasn’t dumb. It just wasn’t enough.
There were reasons he could have stayed.
Maybe his three-point shooting could creep back closer to that 41 percent he shot as a freshman, instead of the 31 and 32 percent he shot from deep these past two seasons. But such a jump was unlikely. Even modest improvement in that area wouldn’t have been enough to make a big difference in scouts’ minds, so why wait?
Trimble could have considered the fact that Maryland, with three superb sophomores and a healthy Michal Cekovsky, would have been the favorite to win the Big Ten. But realistically, he shouldn’t have to sacrifice his career for that. Trimble was already on a preseason top-three team, and that didn’t pan out. He gave his heart for the program for three years, and that’s certainly enough.
Now both he and the team can focus on the future
This mattered from a team perspective slightly more before the news came out that Micah Thomas’s transfer opened up a second scholarship, but Trimble’s still giving his former team immediate flexibility. If he hadn’t signed an agent and decided to wait on his big decision, Maryland wouldn’t have been able to give his scholarship spot away until he made the final call. Now, Turgeon and Co. can aggressively recruit a high school senior and a transfer if they so choose, and could assure each of a spot on the team.
For Trimble, this means he doesn’t need to worry about anything but pouring everything he has into making his dream of playing in the NBA a reality. He’ll reportedly move to Las Vegas on April 10 to begin training full-time, which will remove him from the college life and any distractions that might entail.
Instead of studying for tests in between workouts for prospective employers, he and his agent can come up with the most effective plan to market him to NBA teams.
Trimble was going pro, either this year or next. He chose to get that process started earlier rather than risk waiting until it was too late. Now it’s time to remove all distractions and go get what’s his.