How do you explain away a boneheaded, blockheaded, blunder of a blooper? Temporary insanity? Out of body experience? Or do you just use Flip Wilson’s famous line: “the devil made me do it!” Diamond Stone needs all of these and some to explain his actions in this past Saturday’s BiG 10 Conference game against Wisconsin.
Diamond Stone is a McDonald’s All American. Diamond Stone won four straight High School State Championships back in Wisconsin. (Yes he’s from Wisconsin, so how ironic is it that this gaff came against Wisconsin?) Diamond Stone was one of the most sought after basketball recruits in the Country, and he chose to come to the University of Maryland because he wanted to win a national Championship. And yet with slip ups and hiccups like the one he pulled against the Badgers, his home state team, the only thing he’ll win is an asterisk in annals of college also-rans and could-have-beens.
Maryland center Diamond Stone has been suspended for Thursday’s game against Minnesota after the freshman big man shoved Wisconsin forward Vitto Brown’s head to the floor late in the first half of his team’s 70-57 loss on Saturday. Let me put it another way: Stone, the diamond that his name says he is, slammed another player’s head into the floor. INTO THE FLOOR! And he wasn’t kicked out of the game. He was lucky to be suspended for just one game. The school made the decision, and it was supported by the Big Ten.
Stone, who scored 10 points and grabbed one rebound in the loss, was issued a contact dead ball technical foul but was not tossed from the game. But he should have been called for a Flagrant II, and kicked out of the contest.
“Diamond’s conduct during Saturday’s game was a poor representation of the standards that we have established as a program at the University of Maryland,” Coach Turgeon said.” I have talked with Diamond and he realizes he made a mistake. He felt very badly about what happened and will learn from this experience. I want to sincerely apologize to Vitto Brown and Greg Gard for what transpired Saturday.”
For his part, Stone did issue an apology, although it was a generic, cliché, cookie cutter, uninspired and unmoving canned and carefully scripted, almost sardonic statement.
Unfortunately, there’s no excuse for Stone’s faux pas. None. There’s absolutely no excusing what he did. He slipped up and messed up and now he’s got to fess up and face up to the fact that you can’t keep dancing when the music stops playing. You can’t march to the beat of your own drum and get away with garbage like that. We all get emotional from time to time. If we didn’t, especially during the heat of a moment, someone might need to check our pulse. But the life lesson here is that you should NEVER let your emotions get the best of you. Never.
So back to Stone, who is a Diamond in the rough. Diamond needs some polishing. And quickly. He’s a kid with a bright future but he could have a dark past if he pulls another stunt like this again. He did something that we all agree was reprehensible and unacceptable. The kid made a mistake. Now hopefully he’ll “learn from this” and grow.
But before we throw Stone under the proverbial bus, we all have committed dumb fouls and made stupid mistakes and wished we hadn’t lost our heads when we blew our cool. I get it. So let’s just hope that Diamond chalks this one up as a “rookie” mistake that should never happen again so he can go ahead and move ahead and look ahead to what should be a positive and promising career.