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Sports Terps Tracking the Terps

Meet Maryland center commitment Damonte Dodd

Damonte Dodd was looking forward to starting his Maryland career in the fall of 2012 when the Terps coaching staff floated the idea of delaying his arrival to College Park by a year.

“We came to an agreement that I’d go to prep school,” said Dodd, who spent the past year at Massanutten Military Academy in Woodstock, Va. “Honestly, I really needed it from a basketball standpoint. I’m actually glad I went. I already come from structure, [so] the military part wasn’t really that hard for me. [It was just about] getting better at basketball.”

A raw, relatively untested 6-foot-10 center from the Eastern Shore, Dodd began his post-grad career by claiming a spot in Massanutten’s starting lineup, which featured four other high-major players. With so much talent around him, Dodd learned to play much differently than he did at Queen Anne’s County High School, where he was the only Division I recruit.

“When I first got there, I didn’t have a lot of post moves. My jump shot wasn’t as good,” Dodd said. “But as the season progressed, I got a lot better working with my trainer, just playing with a mindset of, I’m not always going to get the ball. I had to learn to play without the ball. You’re playing with four other DI athletes that are going to high-major [schools], just like you. You’ve got to learn to play without the ball. My high school, I’d get the ball 90 percent of the time. Playing there and learning to play without the ball really helps.”

Dodd still put up significant numbers – around 14 points, eight rebounds and four blocks per game – but he wasn’t the focal point of Massanutten’s offense. An unsung role with Massanutten could be comparable to what Maryland’s coaching staff wants from Dodd.

“I think my role is going to be similar,” he said. “I look back on one of the things my friend always told me, to do one thing really well to make that next level. That’s basically what I’m going to try to do. … One thing I do real well is I run the floor real quickly. A lot of people can’t keep up with that, and I can jump really high, so that’s dunks for days, basically. It’s basically a layup line [when I] get out and run. I’ve played with Roddy [Peters], and he likes to push the tempo. We’re going to go all out.”

Dodd, who planned to enroll at Maryland for the spring semester, said he can’t wait to “just come in and be ready to work hard.”

“I honestly think my role will be to just run the floor, rebound, block shots and make shots when they come to me,” Dodd said. “That’s what I think my role is going to be.”

Here’s an introduction to Dodd:

Name: Damonte Dodd

Birthdate: May 10, 1994

Birthplace: Centreville

Hometown: Centreville

Height: 6-10

Weight: 240

Position: Power forward/center

Prep School: Massanutten (Va.) Military Academy

Fifth-year statistics: 14 points, eight rebounds, four blocks

High school: Queen Anne’s County High

Rankings: Rivals.com – Three-star prospect. Scout.com – Four-star prospect, No. 15 center. ESPN.com – Three-star prospect. 247Sports.com – Three-star prospect, No. 13 center, No. 176 player nationally.

Runner-up school: Georgetown

Favorite pro basketball player: Kevin Durant

Favorite pro basketball team: Oklahoma City Thunder

Favorite all-time Terp: Len Bias

Favorite music: Young Scooter, Lil Phat

Favorite book: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Favorite TV show: Love & Hip Hop

Favorite food: Chipotle

Favorite high school class: History

Favorite thing about College Park: “The atmosphere. Everyone there is good people and it’s close to my hometown, so people can come and see me.”

Hobbies: “Besides basketball, I did track, played a little football on the side. I play drums in my church.”

Intended major: Communications

Something that not many people know about you: “I’m a humble guy and I’m funny to be around. I’ll be quiet, but when you get around me, I’m a pretty good guy, I must say.”

Best basketball moment: “My best is probably when we beat Kent County by 40 points. It was a pretty big moment. My boy L.J. [Palmer] put in big buckets. Me and him combined had a pretty good game.”

Role model: “My parents, just because of the fact that we come from a church background.  You really can’t go too wrong coming from a church background. My parents always told me to be what I can be and do what I do best. That’s what my dad always told me. Definitely my parents would be my role models, with the encouragement they gave me every day.”

Why Maryland? “It’s close to my hometown and people can come watch. I was a late bloomer, [so] not a lot of colleges knew about me. Maryland gave me an opportunity to prove myself. A scholarship is worth a lot of money nowadays. To get a full-ride scholarship is a blessing. They gave me an opportunity. That’s a really big reason. Plus, the coaching staff, I felt at home with them.”

mbracken@baltsun.com

twitter.com/mattbracken

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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