Despite slump, upbeat Melo Trimble says 'past is over with' and he's 'good from here on out'

Michigan guard Zak Irvin, left, and Maryland guard Melo Trimble, right, chase after the ball during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Sunday, Feb. 21, 2016, in College Park, Md. Irvin was called for a foul on the play. Maryland won 86-82.
Michigan guard Zak Irvin, left, and Maryland guard Melo Trimble, right, chase after the ball during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Sunday, Feb. 21, 2016, in College Park, Md. Irvin was called for a foul on the play. Maryland won 86-82. (Nick Wass / Associated Press)

In the midst of the first prolonged slump of his otherwise magical career at Maryland, point guard Melo Trimble said Monday that he saw some positive signs in Sunday's 86-82 victory over Michigan at Xfinity Center.

Trimble said shooting 3-for-10 from the field and hitting seven of eight free throws against the Wolverines to help break the team's first two-game losing streak since before the 6-foot-3 sophomore arrived in College Park has taken him out of his mental funk.


"Seeing a couple of them [shots] go down, I haven't seen that in awhile," he said. "I think I'm pretty good. Everyone's been telling me they have my back. When people tell you they've got your back and they have your best interest, I believe them."

Trimble seemed to be in good spirits Monday, hanging out with fellow sophomores Dion Wiley, Jared Nickens and Jaylen Brantley along with freshman walk-on Andrew Terrell at American University's Bender Arena. They came to watch future Terp Anthony Cowan Jr. lead St. John's to the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference title over DeMatha.

Several fans came up to Trimble and asked to take pictures, and he happily obliged.

Trimble, who was not made available to the media by the Maryland athletic communications office before or after several recent games during the slump, said he hopes to be his old self when the 10th-ranked Terps play at Purdue on Sunday.

"Me being aggressive, me being myself," Trimble said, when asked how he hoped to break out of the slump. "When I'm aggressive, I'm not thinking about it. I haven't been myself since we played Ohio State [Jan. 31]. Even when I wasn't making shots [Sunday] I was still being aggressive. I felt pretty good out there. Just playing the game, not forcing anything.

"That's the biggest thing when somebody's struggling. I forced it against Minnesota, and it sort of got us [in trouble]. From here on, the past is over with. I'm not going to worry about it. As Coach Turgeon said to me, 'The sun came up after Minnesota.'  I said, 'Yeah, it did.' Move on."

Trimble said that while he is still bothered by the strained hamstring he sustained more than six weeks ago against Rutgers, his performance the past few games "is more of a mental thing" that has been compounded by a string of poor shooting games.

After hitting nine of 17 shots – including the now famous game-winning 3-pointer right before the buzzer – in a 63-60 win at Wisconsin a few days after suffering the injury, Trimble has struggled with his outside shooting. His shooting woes deepened the past three weeks.

Though he made a crucial 3-pointer late in a 65-61 win at Ohio State on Jan. 31, Trimble missed eight of his first nine 3-pointers. After hitting five of seven shots in a road win at Nebraska, Trimble went 2-for-12 from the field (0-for-5 on 3-pointers) in a home win over Purdue.

Then came the career-worst 1-for-14 night in a home loss to Wisconsin. After hitting his first 3-pointer against Minnesota, Trimble suffered one of the worst overall games of his career – including shooting an airball from 14 feet and committing two turnovers in the final minute of a 68-63 defeat last Thursday.

"I've been thinking about my shot ever since I starting shooting short," he said.

Asked how he has been dealing with the first tough stretch of his college career, Trimble said that he read a quote from Portland Trail Blazers' star Damian Lillard.

Lillard tweeted it out after he and the Trail Blazers were criticized by media and fans after losing to Memphis in five games in the opening round of playoffs after winning the Northwest Division.

The tweet was "If you ain't BUILT for it...you WILL get KILLED for it."

"If I'm built for this, I'm going to go through things like this," Trimble said. "I've got to obviously learn how to get through it and be strong. I like to stay focused, I don't worry about the good or bad. I take the good with the bad."


Trimble conceded that he was "a little flustered" when he started shooting poorly a few weeks ago. He was getting advice from many, but eventually "I moved on" and started talking mostly with Turgeon, who attended Monday's game along with his coaching staff to watch Cowan's 21-point, seven-assist performance.

"I'm pretty good from here on out," Trimble said. "The biggest thing for me to do is smile."

Trimble said he had not heard about Turgeon getting emotional at Sunday's postgame news conference when asked about his point guard's struggles and how he thought his late free throws were a "step in the right direction" in a game that also saw Trimble make seven turnovers to only one assist.

It didn't surprise Trimble, who said he has a "special connection" with the Maryland coach.

Trimble said he is not thinking about next year, and whether his recent play has been attributable to him being distracted by speculation on his plans to leave Maryland after his sophomore year for the NBA. Trimble is considered a likely first-round draft choice, possibly a lottery pick in a point guard-thin draft.

He knows that he has received the first criticism of his career.

"I get a lot of negative stuff coming towards me now," Trimble said. "I think it's going to be all positive once I bounce back. Everyone is going to want to be on my side again once things start turning around. It just gives me more motivation. I only care about the people who care about me."

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