Future Terps eager for next basketball season

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Future Terps eager for next basketball season

Junior Jake Layman (right) and freshman Melo Trimble (left) are returning for the 2015-2016 season.

Junior Jake Layman (right) and freshman Melo Trimble (left) are returning for the 2015-2016 season.

Alexander Jones/The diamondback

Junior Jake Layman (right) and freshman Melo Trimble (left) are returning for the 2015-2016 season.

Alexander Jones/The diamondback

Alexander Jones/The diamondback

Junior Jake Layman (right) and freshman Melo Trimble (left) are returning for the 2015-2016 season.

By Hannah Yasharoff, Senior Writer

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It’s only April, but anticipation for the upcoming 2015-2016 season of the University of Maryland Men’s Basketball team is at an all-time high.

With the newly-announced returns of freshman guard Melo Trimble and junior forward Jake Layman, along with the addition of five-star center recruit Diamond Stone and the now eligible junior transfer Robert Carter Jr., next year’s Terps are looking like a force to be reckoned with, and at the perfect time, too, for incoming freshmen who are eager to join a student body with energizing school spirit.

“I think next year’s team will be better than this year’s,” said senior Zach Shaffer, who will be attending UMD in the fall. “I’m a really big Maryland fan and I’m most excited to go there and experience the games as a student.”

Early ESPN rankings have Maryland in the pre-season top five, and predicting a season better than this year’s isn’t a notion to be taken lightly. The 2014-2015 Terps finished the season 28-7, the team’s best record since 2002, when they won the National Championship. But dreams of making it to the Final Four this year were cut short in the third round of the NCAA tournament with a 69-59 loss to West Virginia after Trimble was forced to sit out the last eight minutes of the game with a concussion.

“The end of the season was very upsetting for Maryland fans everywhere, especially when Trimble came out of the game,” said senior Cece Wallerstedt, who will also be attending UMD in the fall. “Hopefully this will only motivate the team to want to go even further in the tournament next season, and hopefully the younger players like Trimble and Stone will be able to take on the roles that seniors like Dez Wells played.”

Less than a week after the abrupt ending to Maryland’s season, however, head coach Mark Turgeon received some good news: six feet and ten inches of good news. Diamond Stone, ESPN’s seventh overall high school recruit and second overall center, announced via Twitter March 27  that he was committing to play basketball for the University of Maryland.

“Diamond Stone is awesome and is obviously a huge recruit for the program,” said senior Eric Murray, who will also be a freshman at UMD this fall. “Next year’s team will have a lot more big man depth compared to this year’s team.”

Following Stone’s commitment, speculation began to grow as to whether Trimble and Layman would leave school early to play professionally, but ultimately both of their returns were announced in press releases from Turgeon April 1 and 9, respectively.

“I think them coming back makes us a top five team and definitely a championship contender,” Murray said. “I’m most excited to see if we can win the Big Ten.”

With these three key players already locked in along with the possibility of snagging Damion Lee, a 6’6” guard from Drexel who will gain eligibility right away as a graduate student, next year is shaping up to be a very eventful season for both the Terrapins and for current CHS seniors who will get to see the action for themselves as college freshmen.

“The basketball program was a huge ‘pro’ when it came down to making my final college decision,” Wallerstedt said. “I’m most excited to be able to attend more games next season to watch the Layman-Trimble-Stone dream team.”