Maryland commit Damonte Dodd has gotten off to a fast start this year as Massanutten Military Academy stands at 15-0; now the 6'9” center is trying to improve his game and finish the season on a high note.
“One of the goals I had [when I came to Massanutten] was to learn to be a student athlete, student first; I want to focus more on my grades” Dodd said. “I'm also working on my footwork and post moves, trying to shoot better, and with it being a military school I'm getting more discipline.”
Dodd joins guard prospect Roddy Peters to make up the 35th ranked recruiting class on ESPN for Maryland, and after the Terps gathered the 16th best recruiting class last year according to Scout.com, Coach Mark Turgeon has generated buzz about the program's future.
Not only has Turgeon gotten commits from Dodd and Peters for 2013, but he recently got a commitment from 2014 guard Romelo Trimble.
“I'm feeling strongly [about recruiting],” Dodd said. “They go after players they want and don't let up; I like what they're bringing in.”
Recruiting efforts have translated into wins for Turgeon so far this season, as the Terps are 9-1. Dodd said that he's been impressed by this squad's early showing.
“I went to a couple games; they look really good,” Dodd said. “A lot of freshmen playing, and they're all talented. Obviously you have to come in and learn the offense and learn the defense, but they should go far; they have to stick with it.”
Dodd also talked about why Maryland was such an easy decision for him.
“Maryland in the past hasn't always recruited in-state, so when they first came to one of my games I was excited,” Dodd said. “I'm a hometown boy, plus I like the recruiting staff and they're big on education, so that's the main reason I picked them.”
While recruiting has garnered a lot of attention, the headline for Maryland athletics continues to be the conference move to the Big Ten. Maryland agreed to the move after Dodd committed, but the Centreville native said he wasn't affected.
“Honestly, it doesn't bother me,” Dodd said. “They're still playing in a good conference and against good competition. It's a lot of good centers in [the Big Ten], so it's good for me.”
For now, Dodd says he seeing a lot of progress this year and expects to be a better player by the time he gets to College Park.
“I've seen tremendous improvement,” Dodd said. “I've gotten my left hand to a 7.5 on a scale of ten, and my ball handling is getting better. I just come in daily and put it in the work.”