Maryland basketball midterm grades

In the Big Ten, every team plays 18 conference games. With Maryland’s big win over Iowa last night, they have reached the midway point in conference play, having played nine games and going 7–2. With Maryland’s classes back in session, it feels appropriate to look at how Maryland’s players have done by giving them grades.

Robert Carter: A+

Conference Stats: 13.9 points, 7.3 rebounds, .549 FG%

Best Game: 17 points, eight rebounds, three assists against Iowa

In conference play, no one has been consistently better than Robert Carter. He leads the team in rebounds per game and only trails Diamond Stone in points per game. He has scored at least 10 points in every game besides the Northwestern game in Evanston. He has posted two double-doubles against Northwestern at home and against Wisconsin. He is virtually unstoppable in the post and quietly has a better three-pointer percentage (.429) than Melo Trimble (.304). Carter has been Maryland’s most versatile and consistent player in conference play, which is why he earns an A+.

Diamond Stone: A

Conference Stats: 15.3 points, 6.2 rebounds, .623 FG%

Best Game: 39 points, 12 rebounds, two blocks against Penn State

Diamond Stone began conference play by setting all sorts of Maryland records with an incredible 39 points to all but single-handedly beat Penn State 70–64. Stone has sadly not been able to score 39 points in every other game, but he clearly has been the future NBA first-round pick that everyone hoped he’d be when he opted for Maryland over his local Badgers. An underrated part of Stone’s game that has helped him and his team is his success at the free throw line. He is 52-for-62 on free throws, meaning he makes over 80% of the free throws he takes, which is a fantastic rate for anyone, let alone a center. Stone’s defense still needs a bit of polish, which is why he can’t earn an A+ just yet.

Melo Trimble: B+

Conference Stats: 13.6 points, 5.0 assists, .408 FG%

Best Game: 24 points, eight assists, two steals against Northwestern (Away)

Melo Trimble no longer only has Dez Wells and Jake Layman he can rely on to score points. Trimble now has Layman, Rasheed Sulaimon, Robert Carter and Diamond Stone, all of whom are averaging at least ten points per game. As such, Trimble now feels less pressure on himself to be the guy for Maryland. His points per game have decreased from 16.3 last year to 13.6 this year, while his assists per game have increased. However, his number of field goals made per game has increased from 4.4 per game to 4.7 this year. So where are the points disappearing from? Free throws. Trimble has been fouled less often this season, and his free throw attempts per game have been more than cut in half from 6.8 to 2.6. Trimble earns a B+ and not an A- or better, because he only scored two points against Michigan, a game where the Terps needed him to step up and he was not able to.

Jake Layman: B+

Conference Stats: 10.3 points, 5.4 rebounds, 1.6 blocks

Best Game: 18 points, ten rebounds against Michigan

Take a quick look on Twitter or the Testudo Times comment section during or after a game, and there is one player you are almost always guaranteed to see people arguing over: Jake Layman. It’s easy to see why Layman is a heavily discussed player: he is hitting three-point shots at the lowest percentage of his time at Maryland. Layman is currently shooting .316 on threes, a downgrade from his .358 rate last season. While there are no stats to prove it, it also seems as though Layman is better at hitting threes when they’re contested compared to when he is open, which is quite baffling. However, Layman is pretty good at everything that does not require shooting threes. He is making over 50% of his two-point field goals and is having his best free throw shooting season of his career. Layman has also been extremely solid on defense with his 1.6 blocks per game. If Layman either simply took less threes, or made more of them he’d be bumped up to an A-, but so far neither of those has been happening.

Rasheed Sulaimon: B

Conference Stats: 10.3 points, 4.0 rebounds, 3.4 assists

Best Game: 17 points, five assists, four rebounds against Iowa

Rasheed Sulaimon is maddeningly inconsistent. In Maryland’s nine conference games, he has had three games where he failed to score five points. In addition, he has had four games of scoring 15 or more points. For Maryland, they just do not really know which Sulaimon they will get on any given night. Last night against Iowa, they got the good Sulaimon, as he, along with Robert Carter, scored a game-high 17 points in Maryland’s win. That was a game removed from Maryland’s loss in East Lansing, where Sulaimon went 2-for-11 from the field. In addition to his inconsistency, Sulaimon earns a B for his puzzling decline in free throw percentage. In his three years at Duke, Sulaimon made 80% of free throws. This year at Maryland, that has bizarrely dropped to a rate of .526.

Damonte Dodd: B-

Conference Stats: 3.3 points, 2.9 rebounds, .588 FG%

Best Game: Nine points, six rebounds against Wisconsin

Damonte Dodd this season has had the misfortune of competing for playing time with a player who has a chance to be a lottery pick in this year’s NBA Draft. Dodd’s job for this year’s Maryland team is to keep Diamond Stone rested and be a defensive upgrade over Stone when he plays. So far, Dodd has done both of those things pretty well. However, he is not much of a threat on offense and commits more turnovers per 40 minutes than anyone else who gets significant playing time.

Jared Nickens: C-

Conference Stats: 3.1 points, 2.4 rebounds, .171 3P%

Best Game: Nine points, ten rebounds against Rutgers

There’s really no way to sugarcoat it: Jared Nickens has had an awful conference season shooting the ball. Last year, Nickens hit exactly 40% of threes. This year he is currently making 17%. Nickens has been cold all conference play. He’s only had two games where he made more than one three, and one of them was against Rutgers, which barely counts. He has failed to hit a three-pointer in five of his nine games. Nickens’ main role on this team is to hit threes and he has failed to do that. While his three-point shooting has been dreadful, he has already more two-pointers than he did in all of last year. Nickens avoids a D+ or lower because despite his poor shooting, he is still clearly giving as much effort as he can and has improved his play defensively.