Maryland star freshman Diamond Stone is going to the NBA.
The 6-11, 255-pound center was the team’s second leading scorer this season, when he averaged 12.9 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.6 blocks a game and helped guide the Terps to a 27-9 record and the NCAA Tournament’s Sweet 16.
Stone plans to hire an agent.
“I want to thank the University of Maryland and Coach [Mark] Turgeon for an unbelievable experience this past year,” Stone said Monday via a statement. “Coach Turgeon really pushed me to get better each and every day. My family and I spent a great deal of time discussing my future, and we felt this was the best decision as I pursue my dream of playing professional basketball.”
Stone was the Associated Press Big Ten Newcomer of the Year, and was also named to the Big Ten All-Freshman Team and to the All-Big Ten Third Team.
Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon said that Stone’s focus from day one was always to get to the NBA.
“When we first met with Diamond and his family, one of our goals was to help him achieve his dream of playing in the NBA,” said Turgeon. “Diamond has always been a very skilled and talented offensive player, but he worked hard in other facets of his game this past year. He has vastly improved his strength and conditioning and has made strides defensively.”
“We are happy for Diamond and wish both him and his family the very best,” Turgeon added.
Stone, ESPN’s No. 6 ranked player coming out of high school, averaged 24.4 points, 11.7 rebounds, and 3 blocks last season for Dominican H.S. (Milwaukee, WI), where he led the team to four straight state championships.
DraftExpress.com predicts that Stone will be the 23rd pick in the 2016 NBA Draft.