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January 19, 2013

5-star big man talks Indiana, visits

RACINE, Wis. - Diamond Stone has emerged as one of the top young big men in the country.

Powerful, agile and skilled, the 6-foot-10, 250-pound Stone has a traditional back-to-the-basket post game along with the ability to step out on the floor, hit mid-range jumpers and make nice passes.

The five-star 2015 prospect has an Indiana offer and also has plans to visit the Hoosiers this season.

Indiana coaches watched him during the fall evaluation period and have stayed in contact with his father, a very good college basketball player in his day who got a look from the pros.

Peegs.com was in Wisconsin recently to watch Stone in person and get an update on his recruitment.

Stone is getting familiar with Indiana, including how the Hoosiers utilize and develop their current big man, 7-foot sophomore Cody Zeller.

"I know they were No. 1. I know it's a good program, a big program. They've got Cody, and he's a big part of the team. They have good team chemistry," said Stone, who pays attention to how teams use their big men.

"I like the elbow a lot. I like a coach that lets the big man move freely, a lot of pick and pops, pick and rolls."

Stone said he's hearing from a host of major programs, including Indiana, Kentucky, North Carolina, Duke, UCLA and "pretty much everybody in the Big Ten."

Indiana is a school he hopes to visit soon.

"I think I'll probably go to a game there this year," Stone said.

Stone said the Hoosiers stay in regular contact.

"They called my dad and said they're very interested in me, and they offered me," he said.

Stone's father, Bob, was Division III All-American at Wisconsin-Whitewater who scored 1,158 points from 1971-74 and remains one of the schools' all-time leading scorers and rebounders. He had a training camp stint with the Houston Rockets. Now, his son is making a name for himself as one of the top prospects in the country in the 2015 class.

Diamond Stone has size, a variety of post moves, a mid-range jumpshot, one-dribble and two-dribble moves. He runs the floor very well and does so with his head up and the ability to catch the ball on the move. He is a willing passer with good vision and attention to his teammates from both the interior and up top. His team includes Marquette-bound 2013 guard Duane Wilson.

Stone can block shots, but he shows an unusual discipline for a young big man in that he doesn't get silly fouls lunging at any field goal attempt near him. He uses both his weight and length to position himself well defensively, sometimes simply to force a player to attempt to shoot over him.

"I've played AAU since fourth grade, so I'm kind of used to basketball," he said with a big smile.

Stone finishes through contact. He can catch and pass on the move. He had one play where he was running the middle lane on a break, caught a pass near the free throw line and in one motion lobbed a perfect alley-oop to a teammate without breaking stride.

He passes well out of the post - he had three assists and would have had more but his teammates missed several open jumpers. He positions himself well in the post offensively and uses his body and length to create space for an entry pass.

Stone can score outside the post. He had solid form on a catch-and-shoot jumper between the key and the free throw line. In the game we saw, Stone shot 7-for-11 from the field and 6-for-7 from the line for 20 points to go with nine rebounds, three assists and two blocked shots while playing little more than three quarters.

Stone said his wingspan was recently measure at 7-foot-4 and his vertical reach at 9-foot-1. And he may not be done growing.

"My doctors said the growth plates weren't closed," he said. "They said I have another half inch or so."



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