PHILADELPHIA — For the second time in two days, the most anticipated matchup of the day at Reebok’s Breakout Classic turned into a bust.
Diamond Stone, the No. 6 ranked recruit in Rivals’ top 150, squared off with Elijah Thomas, who checks in at No. 11, and the two combined to finish without a single field goal and a total of just three points as Thomas’ team put a whooping on Stone’s team. On Wednesday during the opening game of the camp, Stone dominated Skal Labissiere for about five minutes until that second plate of pregame macaroni got the best of him.
Stone struggled with the physicality of Thomas, as he was unable to establish good position on the low block and he couldn’t find a way to bully his way to the rim from 15 feet out.
“There’s a lot of competition, big time guys and guys I know,” Stone told NBCSports.com. “This was a real physical game between me and Elijah. We’re both physical players. The refs weren’t giving a lot of calls, but that’s the way it should be between the two most physical players in the Class of 2015.”
In short, Thursday provided Stone with a template for what he needs to do to take the next step in his development: continue to develop his face-up game and add to his back-to-the-basket repertoire.
“I need to be able to make my moves faster,” he said.
Every prospect at this age is a work in progress, but it’s clear to see that Stone has already started that process of improving. He’s worked on his body, getting rid of some of his baby fat and toning up his physique. His father told NBCSports.com that he’s down to 246 pounds from 263 earlier this year, something that Stone credits to long hours in the gym and the weight room this spring.
As far as Stone’s recruitment in concerned, the big story that all of the recruiting world is talking about is a package deal between him and the nation’s best guard, Malik Newman. Stone told NBCSports.com that nothing is set in stone (pun intended) and that both he and Newman are open to any school that is looking recruit them, individually or together.
As Stone tells it, the two have been friends for years, and that the package deal is more about two buddies that want to go to school together than anythhing.
“We met in eighth grade at John Lucas Camp, and we just connected right there,” Stone said. “He’s one of my best friends. I talk to him every day.”
“Who wouldn’t want to go to college with their best friend?”