Ladies and gentlemen of College Park it is officially the end of an era.
Junior guard Melo Trimble left for a chance to play in the NBA. While yes, we are sad, we must understand that it is his choice to try and turn what he gave us for three years into a longer career.
Melo changed basketball at Maryland forever, and it’s time we reflect on that.
Coming into a school that had not seen a legitimate point guard arguably since Steve Blake, the Terps graciously welcomed Melo, forming the best recruiting class it had seen in a while.
Other than not having a point guard, Maryland saw half its roster transfer in the offseason, which left many positions to fill. Along with Trimble, the Terps brought in big men Michael Cekovsky and Trayvon Reed, and fellow guards Jared Nickens and Dion Wiley.
These five were close from the start. They got matching tattoos during their first weeks on campus. However, the five would become four shortly, as Reed was kicked out of the University before stepping foot on the floor after stealing a candy bar from a 7-Eleven in August.
The program had no choice but to move on from the incident and gear up for the season, but, little did they know that Trimble was about to take College Park by storm.
The young freshman easily became a star in a new College Park atmosphere, dazzling fans with his behind-the-back and no-look passes, which made students flock from across campus to see the young man play at the Xfinity Center.
Trimble was named to the Big Ten’s All Freshman team and helped the Terps reach the Round of 32 in the NCAA Tournament, having not been there since the 2009-10 season.
After a breakout freshman season, Trimble suffered a slight sophomore slump, as opponents knew how to defend him a little bit better with a full season of tape on him.
This drop in play is not the point, however, because as bad as Trimble might have played one game, students and the entire community still loved him. In a single season he had become the face of Maryland basketball and put the school back on the map as a “basketball school” in the public eye.
People everywhere on campus wanted to see him play, as the Xfinity Center had the best home-court attendance in the Big Ten and became one of the toughest places to play in the nation. This also was due to the fact that the 2015-16 roster was one of the best in the country and an NCAA Tournament favorite.
In a matter of two years, Trimble and Maryland had gone from trying to fill a roster, to title contenders. Unfortunately, the Terps met Kansas in the Sweet Sixteen that season and could not match the Jayhawks.
That offseason, Maryland lost four players in Rasheed Sulaimon, Robert Carter Jr., Diamond Stone and Jake Layman, and wondered if Trimble would be the fifth.
Luckily, Terps fans would get to see Melo for what would be his final season in College Park.
This season forced Trimble to be a leader on a team that started three freshmen. He had always been a leader, but in the 2016-17 season it was his team to lead, whether people liked it or not.
Trimble led this young squad to his third straight NCAA Tournament, but ended up falling short, as they lost in the first round to Xavier.
It did not take long for Trimble to announce that he was leaving for the NBA, as it was made public on March 29, just a few weeks after the tournament loss.
Maryland fans were saddened, as their basketball icon left for a future career. But Terps fans must remember that all a player can do is give his best for as long as he can, which Melo did for all three years as a Terp. He was projected to enter the NBA draft after his freshman season, but decided to stay and give the Terps title hopes for two more years.
Trimble’s departure also allows the talented freshmen trio of Kevin Huerter, Justin Jackson and Anthony Cowan to mature and lead their own team to glory.
For his three years of effort and love for his state and school, Trimble will and should always be remembered as one of the all-time Terp greats. Hopefully, he will give Maryland fans a chance to see a Terp win an NBA title.