Reading Time: 3 minutes

Diamond Stone is one of the biggest “What ifs” of Maryland basketball this recent decade. Stone came to College Park ranked as a 5-star, top-10 recruit and was the best recruit Maryland had ever signed. The 6-foot-11 big man showed a lot of promise in his freshman year averaging 12.5 PPG and 5.4 RPG. His freshman season was highlighted by a 39 point performance in a win against Penn State.

Stone showed a lot of promise, but most college basketball fans agreed he it would’ve been best for him to develop his game for another year at Maryland. He was selected 40th overall in the 2016 NBA Draft. Then, from 2016-19 Stone bounced around from many different G-League teams.

Here’s my recent interview with former Maryland big man Diamond Stone:

Q: Where are you playing now?

A: I am a free agent looking to play in NBA.

Q: Why did you leave Maryland after your first year when you could have gone much higher in the draft if you stayed a second year?

A: I felt my spot was proven. I showed that I was a top player in the draft. My overall was skill set I felt like was NBA ready. Just needed to polish some things up just like every young player does. If you really watch my games and analyze and compare to the NBA today you will see what I am talking about.

Q: What made you pick Maryland over Wisconsin and UCONN?

A: Just felt like it was a family environment over there. I am all about family, all the guys got along. After I took my official visit I knew this is where I wanted to go to school.

Q: Is it true that you received money from ASM Sports during your time at Maryland?

A: My involvement with ASM has nothing to do with the Maryland Family.

Q: What are your honest thoughts on Coach Turgeon?

A: Coach T was a good coach. He had a lot of pressure on him with the year I was there. We were ranked #1 team in country pre season. So I mean every game was sold out and it was a lot of pressure on the team. So if there is pressure on the team the coach gets majority of it. But overall I feel like coach Turgeon wanted the best for me.

Q: What was being on that 2016 team like?

A: Everybody loved it. The attention we were getting from media from fans at the school. I mean we knew it was special. I’m not sure if there has been a team at Maryland that hyped up. I know in 02 they won championship. So probably up there with the 02 run. I just know it was electric environment. But we practiced hard, we competed against each other hard. We really had a lot of talent on that team.

Q: Who was the best player on that 2016 team?

A: [Lol] honestly man, we really didn’t have a best player and even though I would think it would be me; Everybody brought something different to the table. Melo controlled the ball he controlled the tempo to the game. Rasheed was our defender and play maker and he could also shoot the 3 and get downhill like Melo. Obviously we all can make a shot and were the best players in our hometowns. Jake was our slasher and 3 point shooter. Rob had the pick and pop and post game. And I controlled everything down low.

But we had a good bench too: Jaylen Brantley coming in for Melo and bringing the same energy. Jared Nickens was a sniper from everywhere. Dion Wiley was an attack guard and also can kill you from long range. Damonte Dodd controlled the paint also. People didn’t realize how talented we were. And honestly I don’t even think we as a team didn’t realize how special we were.

Q: With all that talent, why do you feel you guys lost to Kansas in the Sweet 16?

A: I feel like on that day they were just more dialed in than us and more focused and hungrier.

Q: Do you have a message to any recruits considering Maryland?

A: If you want a family environment and you are a competitor at heart I would go to Maryland. If you want to grow on and off the court Maryland is the place to be.

Q: What are you going to bring to the next NBA team that signs you?

A: Being vocal and doing whatever the team wants me to do. I can score low post and I can shoot the 3. I can bring a lot on the offensive end. And I know I can bring a lot to the defensive side. Effort is how you play defense. My motor is high and my work ethic is high. I just want the world to see.

Image: Jamie Rhodes / USA TODAY Sports