Coach's Take: Damonte Dodd

TSR spoke with Damonte Dodd's head coach at Queen Anne's, Dale Becraft about MD's newest commit.

Few, if any, had heard of Damonte Dodd, Maryland's newest commitment for 2012, before he selected the Terps on Tuesday night. Dodd, who originally was receiving some mid-major looks, benefitted from the murmurings of some Maryland alumni who came to watch him play. As word was passed on about the potential of Queen Anne's 6-foot-9 senior, Coach Dale Becraft had a front row seat as he watched his center achieve a dream.

Not surprisingly, it turns out nobody is a bigger fan of the newest Terp than his very own coach. “He has tremendous timing and coordination,” said Becraft. “He rebounds and blocks well … he has tremendously developed each year for the last four years but he made a quantum leap from last year to this year.”

After watching Dodd be courted by the likes of Morgan State, Coppin State, Delaware State, Rider and Central Connecticut, Becraft was eventually contacted by the Terps' assistant Scott Spinelli. “I set up a time for him to come down to a game and he saw him play and came down another time and saw him play,” said Becraft. “Scott kept using the word 'intrigued,'” he said. “He arranged for Mark Turgeon to come down to a practice and they spent two-and-a-half hours here at practice and then asked us to send him some game film … they felt like his upside was so tremendous and they wanted to keep him in-state.”

According to Becraft, the easy-going Dodd does not have any discipline issues and is a good-character kid, but will have to make a few adjustments heading into a high-level conference like the ACC. “The only thing that he has really got to get used to is getting banged on all the time in the ACC as opposed to occasionally over here, but I think he will make the adjustment pretty quick,” said Becraft.

While there are some facets of the high school game that the 6-foot-9, 240-pound Dodd can dominate, Becraft and his staff are working to refine some of their center's tools for the much different level of competition he will soon face. “He is really dominating by just getting the ball and throwing it down the hoop,” said Becraft. “We are working on some shots … on a running jump hook shot and a few other things he just needs to refine. Just his understanding of the game as far as what the next level is about.”

For a player who at one time was contemplating prep school or a redshirt season, an offer from Maryland has proved to be quite a change of plans. Yet Becraft is sure that Turgeon and his staff will do what is best for Dodds upon his arrival in College Park. “He is a smart kid, so we aren't worried academically. So the question was is he ready athletically,” said Becraft. “Mark told us the last time we talked that he preferred if he [Dodd] come right in so he can start working with him. Now whether he will choose to redshirt him or not is up to him … but that will be Mark's call and I am sure he will weigh his options.”

While Dodd certainly can't wait to take off to become a part of his dream program, his Queen Anne's team is still playing, sitting in prime position at 18-4. “We have the No. 1 seed in our section,” said Becraft. “Everything we play at this point will be at home until the state semifinals. That would also be a fairytale ending if we can get him over to Comcast to play for the state championship on the court where he will play for the next four years.”

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