Familiar Foes Face Off for Rutgers, Maryland

Rutgers' Junior Etou and Maryland's Melo Trimble last took the court together as champions at Arlington (Va.) Bishop O'Connell High. The pair of impact players meet Wednesday as Big Ten foes as the Scarlet Knights look for another upset against the hot Maryland Terrapins in College Park, Md.

Romelo Trimble’s stellar freshman season for No. 14 Maryland is no surprise to high-school teammate Junior Etou.

When the two take the court tonight in College Park, Md., it is the first time since Etou and Trimble started together at Arlington (Va.) Bishop O’Connell in 2013.

“You could say I’m very excited for this,” Etou said. “To go down there and play against one of my former teammates, a friend, is pretty fun.”

The 6-foot-7 wing is no trash talker, but said he welcomes the challenge in his return to the Washington, D.C., area.

Etou is a top defender for the surging Scarlet Knights (10-7, 2-2), averaging 7.9 points and a team-high 6.8 rebounds per game in 17 starts. He hopes for a few chances against Trimble, who leads Maryland with 15.9 points per game along with 4.1 boards and 2.9 assists.

“He’s a special player,” Etou said. “He was a McDonald’s All-American in high school. He’s a big reason why Maryland’s ranked right now. He’s a great player, but we have to make sure he doesn’t get comfortable. If he gets comfortable, he’s going to score.”

Like Trimble, Etou saw a key role as a freshman. The lone freshman recruit in Eddie Jordan’s first recruiting class, Etou started 20 games games.

“You learn a lot when you play early,” Etou said. “It was challenging and also fun for me. It makes me a lot more confident this year. … I know what is expected of me.”

Etou moved to the area as a high-school student, and looks forward to a return tonight at Maryland with close to 20 ticket requests for friends and family.

“It’s basically where I grew up. I spent two years over there, and I made a lot of friends,” he said. “I’m familiar area, and it’s good to be back home and see my family and friends. It’s a great opportunity for me.”

Etou is not the only Rutgers reunion when it comes to Maryland’s star freshman. Trimble played worked briefly under Jordan during time with DC Assault on the AAU circuit.

“He was just a young buck and I couldn’t play him as much. And as I see him now, I hope he doesn’t remember that,” Jordan said in a joke on this week’s Big Ten call. “He was an excellent talent, an excellent kid and again, it’s not easy to do what he’s doing.”

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