Diamond Stone

Diamond Stone, Joey Gorgen

Three players withdraw from United States U19 training camp

Saturday marked the first day of training camp for the United States U19 team, which is being led by Arizona head coach Sean Miller and assistants Ed Cooley (Providence) and Archie Miller (Dayton), with a list of 24 players needing to be pared down to 12 in advance of the FIBA U19 World Championships. Saturday it was learned that three candidates will not be participating in the camp, one of whom is reportedly on his college campus already.

Diamond Stone, one of the top incoming freshmen, withdrew from the camp as did 2016 prospects Tyus Battle (Michigan commit) and Malik Monk according to the Arizona Daily Star. Per the report, a USA Basketball spokesman cited health and family reasons for the players’ decisions to withdraw.

As for Stone, InsideMDSports.com reported Saturday that he’s already on the College Park campus.

Although there’s been no official confirmation, a source said it’s likely Stone is at Maryland to stay. It appears to be a late change of plans, as Maryland coach Mark Turgeon spoke about Stone’s delayed arrival Thursday at an athletic department tour stop in Baltimore.

“[USA basketball] is good for his development … He gets to play against top competition; it seasons him [but] I don’t think anything will make Diamond nervous,” Turgeon said. “Personally, I’d rather have him around. I’d rather have him in the weight room with Kyle and lifting with the guys and practicing with me, but you can’t get hold kids back. If that’s the best thing for him, then that’s what they should be doing.”

The World Championships run from June 27 to July 5 and will be played in Heraklion, Crete. According to USA Basketball, the list of 15 finalists is expected to be revealed June 15 (Monday), with that group being pared down to 12 shortly thereafter. The training camp runs through the 26th of the month.

Coaches Donnie Bostwick (Southwest Assemblies of God), Kerry Keating (Santa Clara) and LeVelle Moton (North Carolina Central) are serving as court coaches during the training camp.

Cheick Diallo leads East to McDonald’s All-American Game victory

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Twenty-four of the top players in the Class of 2015 took the United Center court in Chicago in the 38th annual McDonald’s All American Game, and one of the event’s eight uncommitted players took home MVP honors.

Cheick Diallo, who attends Our Savior New American in Centereach, New York and is still considering Kentucky, St. John’s, Iowa State, Pittsburgh and Kansas, accounted for 18 points and ten rebounds as the East won 111-91. The 6-foot-9 Diallo is one of the best defenders and rebounders in the class, and he has a high motor as well.

He was one of five double-digit scorers for the East, with Antonio Blakeney (LSU commit) and Diamond Stone (Maryland commit) scoring 14 apiece, Florida State commit Dwayne Bacon adding 12 and Kentucky commit Isaiah Briscoe 11. Diallo was one of two East players who grabbed ten rebounds, with LSU commit Ben Simmons being the other.

Allonzo Trier, who’s headed to Arizona next season, led four West players in double figures with 17 points. Also in double figures were Brandon Ingram (15 points; undecided), P.J. Dozier (14 points; South Carolina commit) and Ivan Rabb (ten points; undecided).

Five-star Class of 2015 center commits to Maryland

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Diamond Stone, one of the best uncommitted senior high school basketball players in America, made a surprise announcement on Friday night when he committed to Maryland.

The No. 6 overall player in the 2015 class, according to Rivals, the 6-foot-10 Stone is a major impact recruit for the Terps, as he is a genuine low-post scorer with skill as a multi-faceted offensive force. Stone can go over either shoulder in the post and also has a jumper that extends all the way to the 3-point line. His massive frame makes him an attractive long-term prospect and he’s inevitably going to be a topic of conversion among pro scouts because he’s so skilled for his size.

Stone took official visits to Oklahoma State, Maryland and Wisconsin during the recruiting process and UConn was also heavily involved for the Wisconsin native. A 2015 McDonald’s All-American, Stone is two-time gold medal winner with USA Basketball as he took home top honors during the 2014 FIBA U17 World Championship and the 2013 FIBA Americas U16 Championship. Stone also made All-Tournament honors during the 2014 FIBA World Championships for his strong play.

Much was made of a potential package deal with Stone and Mississippi native Malik Newman, but Newman has not included Maryland in his recent recruiting updates, as he still remains uncommitted in the recruiting process.

Stone joins junior college guard Jaylen Brantley in Maryland’s 2015 class.

Five-star 2015 center trims list to four

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Back in late August 2015 center Diamond Stone, ranked fifth in the class by Rivals.com, trimmed his list to five schools with Duke, Maryland, Oklahoma State, UConn and Wisconsin being the schools in question. Thursday evening the Wisconsin native moved one small step closer to making a decision as to where he’ll attend college, dropping Duke from his list.

Stone revealed the four schools via Twitter.

Duke addressed its future need for a big man back in August, when five-star big Chase Jeter verbally committed to Mike Krzyzewski’s program at adidas Nations Camp in Long Beach, California. With that being the case Duke’s removal from Stone’s list shouldn’t come as much of a surprise.

Stone officially visited Oklahoma State last weekend, and he’s expected to make his official visit to Maryland this weekend.

Five-star 2015 center sets two official visits

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Five-star 2015 center Diamond Stone is down to five schools- Duke, Maryland, Oklahoma State, UConn and Wisconsin- and on Friday it was revealed that he has set up official visits to two of those programs. According to Jeff Ermann of InsideMDSports.com Stone will take an official visit to Oklahoma State next weekend, with a trip to Maryland set up for the following weekend.

As for the other three program’s on Stone’s list, his father stated in the report that nothing concrete has been set up at this point in time. And the same can be said with regards to when a final decision may be coming from Stone. What remains important for the family, just as it was the case when conversations about the possibility of a package deal consisting of Stone and elite guard Malik Newman, is to be as thorough as they can before picking a school.

“Those are the only solid dates,” Bob Stone said. “We’ve been trying to make an educated decision and not an emotional one. Last year there were, what, 1000 transfers in college basketball? We don’t want to be on that list.”

For the two programs that know for a fact that they’ll host Stone for an official visit, both Oklahoma State and Maryland are in positions of need in the paint. Oklahoma State will lose Michael Cobbins and Le’Bryan Nash at the end of the 2014-15 season, and while they have four newcomers joining the program this season and junior college product Igor Ibaka committed to arrive in Stillwater next season depth and production are areas the Cowboys need to address.

As for Maryland, the Terrapins will lose both Jon Graham and Evan Smotrycz after the upcoming season. However they’ll still have Damontre Dodd and Michal Cekovsky, and Mark Turgeon will also have a productive transfer in former Georgia Tech forward Robert Carter Jr. available in 2015-16.

Five-star 2015 center trims list to five

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One of the major subplots of the spring in recruiting circles was the case of 2015 guard Malik Newman and 2015 center Diamond Stone. With the two being close friends there was talk of the five-star prospects being a “package deal,” with their desire being to play on the same college team. However nothing’s etched in stone, especially when it comes to recruiting, as the goal for both players is to find the best fit.

While things have been quiet from a recruiting standpoint for Newman, whose busy summer included playing in the U17 World Championships for the United States, Stone took a step towards his final decision on Thursday. Stone revealed his top five schools via Twitter, with Maryland, Duke, Wisconsin, Oklahoma State and UConn being the chosen schools.

Rivals rates Stone as the fifth-best prospect in the Class of 2015, and as a junior at Dominican HS in Whitefish Bay, Wisconsin the 6-foot-10 big man led his school to a third consecutive Division 4 state title.

For those interested in the “package deal” chatter, UConn is the only school in Stone’s top five that has offered both he and Newman. But what does that really mean? Not sure anyone outside of Newman, Stone and their respective families would have an answer to that question at this point in time.