It would be understandable for former Maryland star Melo Trimble, who was not selected in last month's NBA Draft, to second-guess his decision to stay at Maryland for three years because, as it turned out, his best opportunity to get drafted may well have been after his freshman season.
Trimble burst onto the Big Ten scene during the 2014-15 season, scoring 16.2 points per game, getting to the rim with ease and shooting 41.2 percent from 3-point range. But injuries and a prolonged shooting slump slowed Trimble during the second half of his sophomore year, and concerns over his shooting lingered throughout his junior campaign.
Trimble, now a part of the Philadelphia 76ers Summer League team, reflected on his decision to stay in school after his freshman year when he joined
Glenn Clark Radio
July 6. He also explained why he's more prepared for a long professional career now than he was two years ago.
"Yeah, I think about it ... what if I came out my freshman year when I was really hot? [But] I feel like I came out at the right time," Trimble said. "I wasn't really ready my freshman year to be where I wanted to be in the NBA. Unfortunately, now, I didn't get drafted. But I'm not hanging my head or regretting not coming out. I'm just being humble and waiting for my opportunity.
"I was young, and I wouldn't have been able to take not playing, not starting, because I had been starting all my life. Me being in school for three years and going to the Pan American games [in July 2015], I was able to just learn that when I do get to the next level, it's not going to be my team and I've got to get in where I fit in. Things aren't going to be great all the time."
The Sixers played three games in the Utah Summer League from July 3-6, with Trimble getting into Philadelphia's matchup against the Utah Jazz July 5. Trimble played 10 minutes, grabbed three rebounds, dished out two assists and had a
pretty basket on a dribble drive
. Trimble didn't play in the Sixers' Las Vegas Summer League opener July 8.
Trimble faces stiff competition for minutes at guard on his own summer league team. This year's No. 1 overall draft pick, Markelle Fultz -- an Upper Marlboro, Md., native like Trimble -- is on the roster, as are Aaron Harrison, James Blackmon Jr. and Isaiah Briscoe, among others. Fultz, however, suffered an ankle injury July 8 and is out for the rest of the summer league.
Philadelphia is also packed with guards who are certain or likely to make the 15-man roster this fall, with Fultz among them. Last year's No. 1 overall pick, Ben Simmons, who sat out the entire 2016-17 season with a broken foot, is being groomed to play the point. J.J. Redick, T.J. McConnell, Jerryd Bayless and Nik Stauskas are also set to be on the team.
For Trimble, Summer League doesn't present an opportunity to showcase his talents just to the Sixers, but also to teams that are in greater need of guard depth for training camp this fall and beyond.
"There are a couple players that are in the league making good money and doing really well on teams that didn't get drafted," Trimble said. "Everyone has a different path to where they want to be. For me, it's being undrafted and trying to make a team. The good thing about Summer League [is] I'm able to go out here and play and not just play for the team that I signed with for Summer League but also in front of 29 other teams. That's the best thing about my situation."
As Trimble tries to make his mark professionally, the Terps are preparing for life without him. Forward Justin Jackson flirted with the NBA Draft but ultimately decided to return to College Park and will be one of three key returners along with guards Anthony Cowan and Kevin Huerter. Trimble, a habitual clutch-shot-maker during his time with the Terps, said he's confident the team can succeed late in games "when the pressure's on them and I'm not out there to rely on."
Trimble did, however, offer one piece of advice for his former college team.
"They should be really good. The biggest thing for them is just don't worry about what outsiders are saying," Trimble said. "That's been a problem with Maryland, that we just worry about what people are saying about us, worry about us being ranked or just the little things. We've just got to worry about ourselves, and if they just do that, they'll go a long way."
For more from Trimble on upperclassmen being overlooked in the NBA Draft, Jackson's decision to return to Maryland, and Terps lacrosse, listen here.