The attention arrived early for the young big man with the precocious skills, a 6-foot-10, 252-pound teenager.
It all came fast for center Diamond Stone (Milwaukee/Dominican), the No. 2 player in the 2015 ESPN 25. Yet as the attention grew, his parents also made another decision: They wanted their son to take his time as he searched through colleges.
The interest would be there, so why not see as many places as possible, talk to as many coaches as they could to make an informed decision during his senior season. For now, that’s a long way off, although a trip to Michigan is not. The Wolverines are welcoming Stone for an unofficial visit this weekend.
“We’re taking an approach that we are going to go slow and talk to coaches -- we’ll talk to anybody -- and we’re trying to build relationships,” Stone’s father, Robert, said. “We want to make sure we pick the right school for Diamond and make the best decisions with the most information.”
The Wolverines coaches, led by assistant LaVall Jordan, reached out to Robert, who is also one of Stone’s AAU coaches, and when a family trip to Robert’s hometown of Flint, Mich. coincided with a home football weekend, the Stones decided it would be good to visit Ann Arbor, see the campus and take in a football game.
When the Stones and their son do make a decision, they will have plenty of choices. His high school coach at Dominican, Derek Berger, raved about his skills as a freshman, including a triple double of 15 points, 15 rebounds and 14 blocks in a Division 4 state semifinal game in Wisconsin last season.
“He’s a very dangerous player,” Berger said. “He has soft hands. He can use his right hand, can use his left hand. His footwork is unbelievable, whether it’s back to the basket or starting to do face-up stuff. He’s really good at taking it strong to the rim.
“He kind of has a lot of the whole package.”
Skills already intact, although Berger is working with Stone on his shooting range, the next step for Stone is becoming more physical and adding muscle. To do this, he has worked with a basketball trainer who doubles as his AAU coach, DeShawn Curtis, and with a strength and conditioning coach.
Then, when it comes to skills, Diamond works with his father, a former college basketball player at UW-Whitewater.
“He has his skill set down and he’s going after the physical, going after the conditioning, going after building his body up and his vertical jump,” Robert said. “Now we’re in the physical stage. I have my own little progression that I’m trying to run him through and I hope I can complete it.
“When he finishes the physical stage, he will go to the creativity stage, where he melds his skills and physicality together and he can start creating on his own.”
To that point, Berger is planning on working with him on that during his sophomore season. Besides adding to his range, he plans on focusing on teaching Stone how to successfully navigate double-teams.
As good as Stone is, there’s still much he can learn over the next three seasons.