clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Wisconsin basketball recruiting: Diamond Stone discusses commitment to Maryland

New, 226 comments

The five-star center from Milwaukee Dominican says he is excited to join a talented Maryland program that he feels will transform his body.

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

Wisconsin fans who thought the Badgers might be landing Diamond Stone were thrown for a surprise last Friday when the five-star Milwaukee Dominican center committed to Maryland. Previous reports suggested Wisconsin was in the lead to keep 247Sports Composite's No. 5 overall 2015 recruit in state, but alas, Stone elected to join Mark Turgeon's increasingly talented squad in College Park.

Stone discussed his commitment with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel on Tuesday at media day for the McDonald's All-American Game in Chicago (the game is Wednesday at 8 p.m. on ESPN). He talked a little about the predictably unfortunate Twitter reaction he encountered after announcing his commitment, but the most interesting parts to UW fans are why he picked the Terps over the Badgers. The full article is worth a read, of course, but here are some of the key quotes.

On why he picked Maryland

Stone announced his commitment after a 2.5-hour visit with Turgeon and assistant coach Bino Ranson in Milwaukee. According to the Journal Sentinel, Stone said he wasn't leaning in any direction until the visit.

"[Turgeon] told me what he'd do with me. He'd change my body and I believed him because Alex Len came in a scrawny kid and he turned out to be a man," Stone said referring to the former Terrapins center who plays for the Phoenix Suns. "I felt like he could do that for me. That's the main reason I chose Maryland because I just need my body to transform because I have all the skill sets, I just need my body to transform."

Len is a 7'1, 255-pound center in his second season with the Suns. He might've broken his nose on Monday, but in 69 games this season, Len is averaging 6.3 points, 6.6 rebounds and 1.5 blocks in 22 minutes per game. He played two seasons at Maryland in 2011–12 and 2012–13, when he was listed at 225 pounds and received honorable mention All-ACC accolades as a sophomore. The Suns drafted him fifth overall in 2013.

In a similar story by The Washington Post, Stone elaborated on his desire to work with Maryland director of basketball performance Kyle Tarp.

"The strength and conditioning coach for Maryland, Kyle [Tarp], he played a huge role," Stone said. "He transformed Alex Len's body. I feel like he could do the same with me. Coach Turgeon played a huge role, his coaching ability."

Stone said working with Tarp will be among his top priorities when he gets to College Park.

"I have all the skills, I have everything that I need, I just need to transform my body," Stone said. "I'll be going to Kyle every day."

Also in there: Stone told the Post that Under Armour, which sponsored his AAU team and famously sponsors the Terps as a Baltimore-based company, played no role in his commitment.

On his grades

Recruiting gets ugly when the uninformed begin talking about a high school player's grades. Yes, the academics are an obviously important part of the whole process. But we know nothing about the kind of student Stone was, is or will be.

For the past several years, Wisconsin fans have wondered -- increasingly more so if you read our comment sections with frequency -- if admissions standards are too high relative to the rest of the Big Ten. In this case, Stone dismissed those concerns in relation to his recruitment.

While Stone's decision was hailed by Maryland fans, some Badgers fans weren't as kind or diplomatic. One theme, before and after the announcement, was to assume that Stone did not meet the academic requirements to attend Wisconsin.

"It's just people's opinions. It didn't really get to me," he said. "My guidance counselor emailed my mom and he was like, 'Do you want me to send Diamond's ACT scores out,' so people can just leave me alone, because that wasn't the case.

"I told her people are always going to have something bad to say about you. At least we know the truth. Somebody said I had a 3 on my ACT. How is that possible? I got a 20. I was fine to go to Wisconsin. I just picked Maryland."