Damonte Dodd, junior, frontcourt, No. 35
Collegiate Stats (2014-2015): 4 ppg, 3.8 rpg, 1.5 bpg 0.6 apg,
Recruiting Ratings: 3 stars, No. 12 center, No. 124 player overall (following prep school in class of 2013)
Who did Maryland beat out? Dayton, Houston, Georgetown
High School: Queen Anne's County High School/Massanutten Military Academy
Hometown: Centreville, Md.
How'd He Get to College Park?
Former Maryland assistant Scott Spinelli found Dodd near Maryland's Eastern Shore in high school. Dodd was initially supposed to join Maryland in the class of 2012, alongside Jake Layman, Seth Allen, Shaquille Cleare and Charles Mitchell. But he reclassified to the next year and spent a developmental season at prep school.
Dodd had 9 points and 12 rebounds in a conference win against Minnesota last season. He was a savvy 3 of 3 from the field and 3 of 4 from the foul line that day, providing a decent counterweight to Minnesota center Antoine Walker, who had 20 points but needed 15 shot attempts to get them.
Mark Turgeon recently said Dodd had the chops to be the national defensive player of the year. It's hard to imagine Dodd (or anyone) doing more than that.
Here's where Dodd's a really interesting case. He improved a ton last season. His minutes per game more than doubled, his free throw percentage quintupled and his rebounding and block rates were quite good. He swatted away 10 percent of all opposing field goal attempts while he was on the floor, and his offensive rating jumped from a putrid 70.3 as a freshman to 108.6 as a sophomore. That's amazing progress.
But circumstances, as they are, might make it tough for Dodd to show the same growth in 2015-16. Last year, he was one of just two centers on Maryland's roster, along with Michal Cekovsky. This year, five-star freshman Diamond Stone makes three, and talented transfer Robert Carter makes Maryland's frontcourt a full quartet. That doesn't even account for redshirt freshman Ivan Bender, also a power forward, or sometimes-power forward Jake Layman. So there aren't a ton of minutes to go around. Dodd also had serious foul trouble last year, which limited him to just 16 minutes per game despite his strong growth. He averaged 6.7 fouls taken per 40 minutes last season, and that kind of rate is highly limiting.
Still, Turgeon's going to find space for Dodd. If he can develop into a true defensive ace, Maryland will have no choice but to play him. It's been whispered for months that Dodd, not Stone, might begin the season as the starting center.
Our next player will be more important to Maryland next season than this one, but he's still got a role to play.
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