When he was back in the area last week for his annual summer camp in Montgomery County, former Maryland point guard Steve Blake stopped at his alma mater to play in a pickup game with the current team.
Blake was impressed, particularly with fellow point guard Melo Trimble.
Having watched the Terps on television a few times last season, Blake was familiar with what Trimble had done as a freshman. Blake said he saw signs of it last summer, on a similar trip to the Xfinity Center.
“His maturity as a player is impressive,” Blake said. “Last summer when I went down and played pickup with him, I could tell how good he was. I didn’t know he was going to explode the way he did, but for a young kid he was a really good player.
“He’d come down, run the offense, he’d wait for his moments, get the ball back and then he’d attack. For someone as special as him, he could come down and try to do something every possession. He doesn’t seem to do that, that’s pretty cool.”
Asked to compare their games at a similar stage of their careers, Blake admitted that Trimble might have the advantage.
“Physically he’s more mature than I was for sure, and probably will ever be,” Blake said with a laugh. “He’s a good athlete. I think we’re different type of players. Most of the stuff I did was creating passes and things like that. He’s a really good scorer, and that wasn’t necessarily my role. He’s right on track there to leave early or whenever he feels like it.”
Blake was also impressed with what he saw from others in a game that included all the current members except for Jake Layman, who was in class. Blake wouldn’t go as far as to say that this year’s team has more talent than the one which went to two straight Final Fours and beat Indiana in the 2002 national championship game in Atlanta.
“We were a pretty powerful group of guys, but if you look on paper, I think we were pretty good on paper too,” Blake said of a team that was led by Juan Dixon and Lonny Baxter and also included Chris Wilcox, who left after the championship season as a lottery pick. “On paper, this team coming up is a pretty special group.”
Blake said he likes the job Mark Turgeon has done in succeeding Hall of Famer Gary Williams. It has helped him earn some bragging rights back in various NBA cities when NBA players talk about their former teams.
“Whenever anyone is talking about your program being one of the top teams in the country, that’s satisfying,” he said. “It’s a Maryland basketball family and the things I did affected the guys now and the things they are doing now will affect the guys going there. It’s a cool thing to be a part of.”