Dominican's Diamond Stone left a mark that will be remembered for decades

Dominican’s Diamond Stone rises for a basket over Mineral Point during the first period of the WIAA Division 4 state championship in Madison on March 20.

Dominican’s Diamond Stone rises for a basket over Mineral Point during the first period of the WIAA Division 4 state championship in Madison on March 20. Photo By Peter Zuzga

April 8, 2015

Diamonds are rare. It doesn't get more rare than Diamond Stone.

The 6-foot-10 Dominican center has accomplished things never before seen in the Now Newspapers coverage zone, and perhaps the state. He started for four state-championship teams, becoming only the second program to accomplish the feat. He was named Co-Mr. Basketball with Henry Ellenson of Rice Lake, he was recruited by top-flight programs before settling on Maryland, he won multiple gold medals with Team USA Basketball and he's already found himself on national TV as a participant in the McDonald's All-American Game.

"It's almost indescribable," Dominican coach Derek Berger said after the Knights won their fourth straight Division 4 state title at the Kohl Center in Madison on March 21. "He has the only triple-double ever in the state tournament (recorded during his freshman year). That's where he started. He's grown up a lot, matured a lot. He's always in the gym, whether he's with his trainer or at Dominican, working. During his freshman year, he told me he wanted to get four state championships, so he had that goal coming into his freshman year. I didn't let him forget about that. These seasons are long, November through mid-March ... there's ups and downs, peaks and valleys. I think he's just overall probably the most decorated player to come out of Wisconsin for high school basketball.

"Gold medals, All-State teams, McDonald's All-American, Mr. Basketball. I could go on and on if I could just know all of them."

Stone averaged 24.4 points per game on 67 percent shooting, with 11.7 rebounds to boot. He added 74 blocks heading into the state tournament

He also shoots 74 percent from the free-throw line. He wrapped up a career in which he racked up 2,193 career points.

He's done it all while negotiating unparalleled attention. From the moment he recorded those 15 points, 15 rebounds and 14 blocks in his first state-tournament game as a freshman, helping Dominican handle Colfax, the state of Wisconsin has known the name Diamond Stone. From a recruiting trail that captivated the state's attention, particularly because Wisconsin was on his list of final four potential destinations, to the on-court output that featured double-doubles in all but two of his eight state-tournament victories (and one rebound shy of another), Stone has been on the radar in social media and mainstream media.

"Freshman year, I think I had a target on my back, too," Stone said. "I was a 6-8, 6-9 freshman. It was a struggle at first. I got into it with players and coaches; it was an adjustment coming from eighth grade to ninth grade. Sophomore year, it was me and Duane (Wilson, eventual Marquette University recruit). Now (since then), all the pressure is on me, I have to lead the team and get us through the tough times. I think (at state), that showed."

He's almost been just as busy since state wrapped. One week later, he announced he would be attending Maryland, a team with a very real chance to win the Big Ten next winter with the return of talented guard Melo Trimble. He also participated in the McDonald's All-American Game on April 1, hitting 7 of 9 shots at the United Center in Chicago and finishing with 14 points.

Prior to that, Stone won gold medals in the 2014 FIBA U17 World Championships in Dubai, plus the 2013 FIBA Americas U16 Championship in Uruguay, both with Team USA. In the latter event, Stone averaged 13.6 points and 7.2 rebounds per game.

Which all led into this season, where Dominican was the prohibitive favorite to win the state title. The Knights didn't disappoint.

"There are a lot of people who put all the pressure on Diamond," said teammate Austin Moutry. "But we tell him, 'You dont have to do this all by yourself.' He's built trust the last three years with us. He took a big step in trusting us, too, so we can help him reach his goals."

Dominican joined Randolph (2002-05) as the only program in state history to grab four straight. Stone became the first player to start on all four, joining Randolph's Ryan Tillema as the lone players to play on all four.

"Beginning of the season, all the guys said we want to go to state and make history," Stone said. "We want to be the second team in state history to do it. From practices, outside workouts ... we just made our mind up that we wanted to get to state again."

Berger himself won state championships in WISAA play when he attended Dominican in 1997 and 98.

"That's kind of always been the expectation (winning state)," Berger said. "Going into this, you know what you're expected to do. Lucky for us, the last four years, we've been successful."

Stone joined Milwaukee Hamilton's Kevon Looney (2014) and Calvin Rayford of Milwaukee Washington (1991) as the lone McDonald's All-Americans from the Milwaukee area. Others from the state are Ellenson (also selected this year), Brian Butch of Appleton West (2003), Cassville's Sam Okey (1995) and Joe Wolf of Kohler (1983).

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