My University of Maryland basketball team has a tough freshman in the middle this season.
The young man making noise for my alma mater is Diamond Stone.
Yes, that’s his real name. Precious, I think.
Says the university media guide: “Father named him Diamond because a Diamond is the hardest rock on the planet … ”
Diamond Stone hails from Wisconsin. Milwaukee, to be more specific. That’s where he grew to be 6-foot-11 and 255 pounds, a physical stature that gained the attention of university basketball coaches across the land. He was selected to play in the McDonald’s All-American game, a contest that showcases the couple dozen best high school seniors that are either stepping on to the college game or skipping that level and trying to make it directly in the Big Show, the NBA. You’ve heard of LeBron James, right, who went right from high school to the Cleveland Cavaliers in his day. And a generation before that, Kobe Bryant, who went from his prom to the Los Angeles Lakers.
But this Diamond decided to take his talents to College Park, where a long, long time ago, I studied journalism.
He’s got good blood lines. That bio says: “Parents are Cynthia Oliver-Stone and Robert Stone…has one older sister, Endia Oliver…Father played basketball at University of Wisconsin – Whitewater, mother played volleyball at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, and his sister played volleyball at Tennessee State University.”
Now I watch my Maryland games on TV.
Last week my wide-screen was tuned to Maryland’s Big Ten opener, a game in College Park against Penn State.
It was Diamond Stone’s coming out party.
He scored 39 points in a contest in which Maryland beat Penn State 70-64.
How good was this big man with the funny name?
Wrote Washington Post sports reporter Roman Stubbs:
“Sold-out Xfinity Center was chanting Stone’s name as he walked off the floor after the win. Fans snapped photos and videos with their phones to record this piece of history — and for good reason. Stone shattered the single-game freshman scoring record of 33 set by Joe Smith in 1993. He made 10 of 15 shots from the field and 19 of 25 from the line and was a menace on the defensive end as Maryland rallied from a 13-point second-half deficit.”
So take notice of that name. Diamond Stone. It will shine in headlines to come. It’s already in my U of Maryland Name Hall of Fame, along with track star Renaldo “Skeets” Nehemiah (graduated in 1981), football QB Norman “Boomer” Esiason (1983) and basketball forward Xree Hipp (1996). Yes, he pronounced it X-Ray.
One more shiny Diamond fact: His favorite basketball player of all time is Wilt “The Stilt” Chamberlain.
Here’s the link for Stone’s Maryland media guide biography.
Here’s the link to the Washington Post story about Stone’s 39-point performance.