Sorry to say University of Maryland faithfuls—Melo Trimble is headed to the league. It’s not because he’s no longer happy, it’s simply because the game is not a challenge for him at the collegiate level. Aside from the lure of the greenbacks beginning to fill his account, he is head and shoulders above the student-athlete.
Melo has something in the basketball world called “bounce.” It can’t be taught, it’s not measurable nor will it show up in the stat-sheet. It’s only subject to the eye test, where an offensive player can shake his opponent and get his own shot or free up a teammate for a bucket. It’s pulling from 30 to 40 ft. with confidence and knocking down the jumper. It’s driving to the bucket with your eyes on the rim and flicking a pass to the center at a moment’s notice for an and-1, leaving the defender in utter confusion. That, Melo has.
After dominating the Big Ten Conference for two years by averaging more than 16 points in his freshman year and more than 14 points his sophomore year, Trimble has exhibited he is league-bound. He’s noticeably a step ahead of the competition, one thought process ahead of the defense and physically able to maneuver around whoever D’s him up. Number two is primed to put a suit on, squeeze an NBA team cap over his forehead and shake commissioner Adam Silver’s hand on draft night.
Look at it from Trimble’s perspective. He has to say: “If the starting point guard and NCAA Championship game MVP from last year’s Duke Blue Devils, Tyus Jones, can get to the league after one year of school, why shouldn’t I be confident in doing it after two seasons of putting in work?”
After being selected 24th overall, Jones made the jump to the association after winning a chip, while averaging more than 11 points and five assists per game on a talent-piled Duke team. Those numbers aren’t typically overwhelming, but on a Coach K team, they translate well to the NBA. Keep in mind, Jones was the third Blue Devil selected in the first round after Jahlil Okafor (C) and Justise Winslow (SG). Not to take anything away from Jones, but those two alone make any point guard’s life easier to provide open looks to boost points per game, while allowing for an easy assist as Okafor provided the inside threat with Winslow bringing both an inside-out threat to the table.
On the other hand, Trimble straight held it down for the Terps in the two years that he has been there and has done so with less help. His freshman year included an NCAA Tournament trip in which he led his team to a number four seed, only to fall to the West Virginia Mountaineers in the Round of 32. Most recently, he led the Terps squad to a number five seed, but fell to the Kansas Jayhawks in the Sweet Sixteen. Throughout his second campaign, Trimble flaunted his ability to handle the rock exquisitely with the left and right hand, the willingness to run the pick and roll and find bigs rolling to the rim, shoot the mid-range jumper, and slash to the cup. This all-around package has NBA scouts salivating at the thought of selecting him in the upcoming 2016 draft.
Trimble may not crack the top 10 draft picks in this year’s draft, but don’t be surprised if he is selected within the lottery or the top 20 picks. Attention NBA: prepare for a new Melo.