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Maryland basketball's Diamond Stone unlikely to be welcomed home against Wisconsin

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Stone won't get a warm reception when he returns to his home state this Saturday.

Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

Maryland freshman Diamond Stone has been the rock-hard jewel he was named after since conference play began a week ago. He's been one of the team's top three scorers in each of the Terps' three Big Ten victories, and is shooting a white-hot 69 percent during Maryland's perfect 3-0 start in conference play.

In three league appearances, he's come off the bench twice and accidentally started once, averaging 21 points, 8 rebounds and 2 blocks in 25 minutes per game.

He's been showered with awards, having been simultaneously named the Big Ten Freshman and Player of the Week and U.S. National Basketball Association Freshman of the Week, and conference play is still in its fetal stages.

It's not just the media that's had front row seats to watch his play rapidly develop, but also his teammates, who are all older than the Terps lone scholarship freshman.

"He's definitely better than he was last week," said Rasheed Sulaimon. "He's definitely better than he was last month. And next week I expect him to be better as well."

Next week, however, poses a different threat than the past few easy blowouts. The Terps are scheduled to fly out to face Wisconsin, Stone's home state and the school he turned down nearly a year ago. And the fans of course weren't at all bitter (they were).

Sulaimon was in a similar situation last month against North Carolina at the Dean Dome. The former Blue Devil wasn't forgotten by Tar Heel nation, and he heard the boos from the get-go. He fed off the wild atmosphere well, hitting 5 three-point shots to score 18 points. The graduate student had some advice for the freshman.

"Trust in the offense," said Sulaimon. "Don't do anything differently then what we've been doing all year. That's what crowds want you to do. They want to get you out of your comfort zone and they want you to make it a personal vendetta where you go 1-on-5."

He stayed true to the comments he made following the Terrapins' only loss this season against the Heels.

"Diamond can dominate the game playing Maryland basketball, so [I'd] just tell him to be patient, be calm and trust in us," said Sulaimon. "If he does that he'll have a great game and we'll have a great game as a team."

Stone will likely have to deal with the most raucous of crowds, as angry Badgers fans come in as the underdogs against the No. 3 team in the country.

Lucky for Stone, he has some of the nation's most talented players beside him.