USA Today

Five Questions With Prized Frosh Center Diamond Stone

TT caught up with Terps' freshman center Diamond Stone to give UMD hoops fans a little sneak-peek into the five-star, 6-foot-10 rookie "big."

Favorite Food: Calamari
Favorite Music: Hip-Hop – Young Jeezy
Favorite Class: African-American Studies
Favorite Movie: Glory Road
Role Model: My Dad
Favorite Athlete: Demarcus Cousins
Favorite Non-Hoops Career: Sports analyst
Favorite Non-Hoops Sport: Soccer
Favorite Dream Vacation: Puerto Rico
Favorite Hobby/Interest No One Knows Yet: I love watching Criminal Minds. Love the suspense.
 
Terrapin Times: Diamond, first things first for Terps fans just getting to know you, tell us about how you got your first name, the backstory there. How and why your parents chose that unique name for you.
 
Diamond Stone: My parents actually were in deep thought about it. My Dad came up with the name. He thought it’d be unique so he pitched it to my Mom and she agreed.
 
TT: Diamond, growing up in Wisconsin and Big Ten territory, you obviously knew a lot about Badgers basketball. But when and how did Maryland first catch your eye, the Terps program,.and Maryland joining the Big Ten, was that a critical piece in your decision as well? 
 
DS: Coach Bino [Ranson] has been recruiting me for a long time. He was actually the first coach who started recruiting me. I’ve always liked the Big Ten because in my opinion they produce the best players and it’s a grind and it’s physical and I like it. I just really like Maryland as a school.
 
TT: Diamond, many didn't think you would become a Terp until the very end. So what swung it in Maryland's direction? And what about the fit in the system - projecting yourself in the Mark Turgeon system as a center - sold you on Maryland and why?
 
DS: Turgeon produces pros with guys like DeAndre Jordan and Alex Len more recently, so I like to think of myself when they were first starting out, and think if they can do it, then why not me?
 
TT: Diamond, you are a big, big man with very nimble skills to run the floor, finish with both hands, etc. For Terps fans about ready to see you for the first time, tell them about your game, break it down some specifically, and what you bring to the table as a rookie big for this team.
 
DS: I’m not the most athletic guy but I’m sneaky in a way that people may underestimate me and they don’t think I can dunk this or make that shot, but I somehow manage to. I like to keep the defense on their toes.
 
I’m ambidextrous, and when I was younger, I was left handed. I actually used to shoot left handed and then my Dad thought it would be a good idea to be right handed so we worked on it. It was a process.  I managed to get through it and that’s why I’m so evenly handed. I think Maryland fans will see I rebound the ball well, block shots and am a vocal leader on the court.
 
TT: Finally, you come as a much-ballyhooed recruit to Maryland. So what are the realistic expectations/goals you see as attainable in Year One at UMD? And who has impressed you the most in preseason workouts so far among your front-court teammates you battle each day. How is that going and how are you doing?
  
DS: I’m going to take it a day at a time, a game at a time. As a freshman I’m just looking forward to having an impact on what could be a very special season at Maryland.
I look up to Damonte Dodd. He’s a big, he plays my position and he has some years on me. I ask him for advice and I watch how he goes about his business both on and off the court. I try to mold myself to be like him.

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