There’s a freshman named Melo who grew up in Maryland, and he’s eager to lead his team to a national title.
Romelo Trimble hails from Upper Marlboro, attended Bishop O’Connell High and now stars for the University of Maryland, but he can certainly relate to the hype and frenzy experienced by another baller with the same nickname 12 years ago at Syracuse.
“Actually, I wasn’t that aware of Carmelo until he got to the NBA, but I did know that he had the nickname Melo,” says Trimble, who grew up a Terps fan and remembers watching Juan Dixon and Steve Blake race to the 2002 National Championship.
Trimble became a sensation but decided to stay in-state thanks to a challenge from Maryland coach Mark Turgeon. “He wanted to recruit me as a point guard, and at the time, I was a 2,” says Trimble. “He was honest with me and that made me want to come here.”
Last November, Trimble became the first Maryland freshman in eight years to start a season opener at point guard. He was tasked with directing a new motion offense and assuming leadership for a team in transition after five players transferred in the offseason. Then, less than two weeks into ’14-15, Dez Wells, the Terps’ leading scorer for the past two seasons, suffered a fractured right wrist that kept the senior out seven games.
No pressure, right? “I was a bit nervous when the season started, but I had veterans around me, and when [Wells] got hurt, Coach Turgeon just said, ‘Next man up.’ I had to dial in and play basketball,” says Trimble.
Through 30 games, he leads 25-5, No. 10-ranked Maryland in points, assists and steals per game (16, 3.1 and 1.3, respectively). Add in an uncanny ability to get to the line, which the 6-3, 190-pound Trimble does at one of college basketball’s most prolific rates.
It’s the sort of leadership and production that keys lengthy NCAA tournament runs. Carmelo with ’Cuse in ’03. Trimble and the Terps this spring? It’s been too long since we’ve seen a Melo rule March.