Turgeon Discusses Diamond Stone Signing

Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon held a teleconference April 15 to announce the signing of Diamond Stone (Dominican/Whitefish Bay, Wisc.) and Jaylen Brantley (Odessa C.C./Texas), who signed during the early period. Here’s the transcript from the conference call:

Maryland head coach Mark Turgeon held a teleconference April 15 to announce the signing of Diamond Stone (Dominican/Whitefish Bay, Wisc.) and Jaylen Brantley (Odessa C.C./Texas), who signed during the early period. Here’s the transcript from the conference call:

Opening Statement

Obviously we’re excited about this class, Diamond and Jaylen. We signed Jaylen early and Diamond late. It’s great for us, two pieces we needed. And of course on next year’s team, we’ll be adding Robert Carter, who sat out on last year’s team. So three nice pieces we’ve got coming in and returning.

Is Stone most significant signing since Turgeon was at Maryland?

Oh I don’t know, I get excited about all of them. Melo [Trimble], I knew how good he was going to be, so I was excited about that.. But I think since Diamond was ranked so high it energizes your fan base, it energizes the team. The team was really excited about Diamond; our team worked really hard to recruit Diamond on his [official] visit and throughout the year. Whenever you’re able to get someone as talented as he is and so highly thought of, it energizes a lot of people.

On what Stone brings to the table and what the team will do differently with him in the rotation

This year we were kind of a unique team. We spread the floor and posted our “three” man in Dez Wells. Next year we’ll be more of a conventional team where we can post Diamond, we can post Robert and I think Ceko [Michal Cekovsky] and Damonte’s [Dodd] game will grow. So we’ll be more back to that style.

But I think Diamond gives you a big body. He’s a winner, he’s won everywhere he’s been. He can score, his dad and his coaches have done a great job with him. He can score right or left-handed, he’s very skilled, he’s a very good passer, he shoots the ball well, and he can make free throws, which is great for big guys to be able to do. He’s going to give us a lot, and he’s just a big, physical presence.

We had shot blockers this year with Damonte and Ceko, and they’ll continue to give us that, but we’ll have a thickness to us to, a muscle around the rim next year. As Ceko gets bigger, Damonte gets bigger, and adding Diamond, adding Robert, I just think with all those pieces we should be a much better rebounding team

On how important it was to pull a recruit from Big Ten country and how the Big Ten Network has helped with kids in the Midwest

When we moved [to the Big Ten], we knew some of the territories were going to change with where we needed to recruit. So we’ve tried to open up some doors in different states. But in the end we tried to find a certain kind of player that fits into our team.

But obviously the Big Ten Network, which does an unbelievable job, a lot of young men didn’t know about Maryland. Diamond did, because we’ve been recruiting him for four year and he’s been following us for four years, but hopefully down the road this will open up more doors for us.

On the job Bino Ranson did with Diamond Stone

Bino deserves most of the credit on this. When I first got the job, Bino said, ‘We’ve got to go to Milwaukee, Coach.’ I said, ‘Why?’ He said, ‘I think they’ve got a freshman there who I think is the best freshman big man in the country.’ And I said, ‘Really? We’ve got enough problems here to worry about a freshman.’

But we went out anyway. And every time I called the family and said, ‘Hey, I’m coming to see you,’ they said, ‘Hey, you brining Bino? Diamond really likes Coach Bino.’ So every time I went out there except once, and I went out there a lot, Coach Bino was with me.

When you’re recruiting over four years, you’re in, you’re out and Bino never lost faith . He kept my faith up throughout [the recruiting process]. He just did a tremendous job, and not only with Diamond, but with Robert and Cynthia, his mom and dad.

On Turgeon’s reaction when Stone committed

He texted us right after we left the house and he said, ‘I’m going to commit.’ And of course we were like, ‘Where? I hope it’s Maryland.’

And then I said, ‘When can we announce it?’ And he said, ‘Soon.’ Well, you know how kids like to do thing on social networks, and he did it at 7:30 p.m. central time and everything went crazy after that. So it was exciting, very, very exciting. We’ve finished second so many times with these kids, so it was nice to finally win one of these battles.

Did you have to pull off the road when you received that text?

We were already on the side of the road, looking for a parking place. We were going to spend the night in Milwaukee. With recruiting, you just hope everything is true and everything happens. But it was a great moment.

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