Former Maryland guard Melo Trimble is either leaving too early for the NBA or too late for the NBA Draft.  But in either case he’s too late to really cash in on the certainty of a lucrative pro basketball career in the world’s best league.

Had Trimble entered the draft after his freshman year he would have been a sure first round pick. He had the cache of being the star first year player on a team that returned to the NCAA Tournament following a four year absence. Besides good freshmen rarely become great sophomores they become pros.

Maryland guard Melo Trimble (2) is shown during the first half of the first round of the NCAA college basketball tournament against Xavier, Thursday, March 16, 2017 in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Maryland guard Melo Trimble (2) is shown during the first half of the first round of the NCAA college basketball tournament against Xavier, Thursday, March 16, 2017 in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee)

Cashing in too early is the difference in setting yourself up for life or figuring out how to convince an NBA franchise to spend a first round pick – and guaranteed money – on a player who may have already peaked.  Trimble hasn’t improved since his freshman year to the point where he passes the “can’t miss” test so he had to leave whether he’s ready for the Association or not.

The NBA draft is now a younger man’s international talent show.  Most first round talent is drafted on potential not productivity after a cameo season of college basketball.  If a player returns for a sophomore season his upside starts depreciating like a new car as it pulls off the lot.  The only players over 20 being drafted are those from overseas because they are thought to be mature after facing grown men in pro leagues already.

In three years at Maryland Trimble’s NBA stock tumbled because his weaknesses as a freshman haven’t improved to erase any doubts about his game. He doesn’t create from the perimeter or shoot like Steph Curry.  He hasn’t become a distributor or floor leader like Chris Paul.  Unfortunately, he’s a shooting guard inside a point guard’s body which is a bad measurable working against him.

This amicable parting is good for both Trimble and coach Mark Turgeon.  While Trimble gets to pursue his childhood dream of playing in the NBA Turgeon moves on from another player who departs early without realizing his full potential.

Trimble was the local McDonald’s All-American high school star who was expected to return the Terps to the Final Four and re-establish their national prominence. Instead he became a perimeter version of Diamond Stone – last year’s McDonald’s High School All-American who left after his freshman year to become a disappointing second-round pick of the Los Angeles Clippers.

There are those who would argue that another year in College Park may have improved his draft stock. He could shoot 1,000 jumpers a day during the offseason to improve his range. Trimble could work hard on passing and running Turgeon’s offense when he’s playing off the ball.  After his senior year Melo could win every individual honor – including national player of the year – and lead his team to the Final Four but it wouldn’t matter.

Turgeon is a masterful recruiter but players don’t get better under his watch.  Not one player has left the program to make a dramatic impact in the NBA.  Since Alex Len was drafted fifth by the Phoenix Suns in 2013 no Maryland player has been picked in the first round. Chances are even had Trimble stayed neither would he.

In Romeo and Juliet Shakespeare writes “parting is such sweet sorrow.” Such is the case with this necessary yet somewhat premature breakup between Trimble and the Maryland basketball program. Trimble did more for Turgeon and the program than for himself.  It was time for a new act and a bigger stage even if it’s overseas or the irrelevant circuit NBA D-League.