Diamond Stone is considered a likely first-round choice, while forwards Jake Layman and Robert Carter are picked by in many mock drafts to go in the second round. Kentucky is the only programs expected to have as many players selected.
“Robert and Jake have worked really hard to put themselves in this position to have a chance to be drafted,” Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said Wednesday. “I’m happy for them, it’s been a lifelong dream of theirs. As a coach, you just try to help young men reach their dreams but be realistic along the way.
Turgeon has never had three players taken in the same draft. Stone is expected to be Turgeon’s first “one-and-done” since DeAndre Jordan was taken after his freshman year at Texas A&M in 2008. Jordan was selected No. 35 overall.
The last time the Terps had three players chosen came after they won the national championship, when Chris Wilcox was picked No. 8 overall by the Los Angeles Clippers, Juan Dixon went at No. 17 to the Washington Wizards and Lonny Baxter was the No. 45 pick of the Chicago Bulls.
Stone should become Turgeon’s second first-round pick in the past four years, following Alex Len, who was taken No. 5 overall by the Phoenix Suns after his sophomore year in 2012-13. Stone is expected to go late in the first round.
“It’s good for our program," Turgeon said. "Obviously Diamond is a guy that came in with a chance to be an NBA player. His dream was to be in the NBA. So you’re happy it worked out for them. It’s great for our program. That’s the way we want to recruit, the players we want to get and win a lot of games.”
While programs such as Kentucky will add two more one-and-dones to its list with Jamal Murray and Skal Labissiere, who along with sophomore Tyler Ulis are expected to be picked Thursday in the first round, Stone will become Maryland’s first true “one-and-done”.
Former star Steve Francis was the No. 2 overall pick in 1999 after playing one season as a junior college transfer. (The Terps also had three players taken that year, with Laron Profit and Obinna Ekezie both going in the second round.)
Asked if Stone’s decision to leave after one year could help the Terps recruit other players with similar aspirations, Turgeon said, “It all depends on what happens down the road now for Diamond. I think he’s a tremendous player, I think he’s going to be a great player in the league.
“For him to be drafted and for him to be successful is what helps also. When we recruited Diamond it was a two-year plan and it just went a little quicker than we thought. Talentwise and basketball-wise he’s ready for that league.”