As a senior at Queen Anne’s County High last year, Damonte Dodd dominated small-school competition as the Eastern Shore’s first Division I basketball recruit in years.
As a post-grad player in Woodstock, Va., this winter, the Maryland-bound big man was one of five high-major recruits in Massanutten Military Academy’s starting lineup.
Going from an unquestioned go-to guy in high school to a secondary option on a loaded prep school team was a smooth transition for the future Terp, according to Massanutten coach Chad Myers.
“He had an unbelievable year for us,” said Myers, who parted ways with the prep school after the season. “He averaged about 14 [points], probably about eight rebounds and four blocks. I think he’s going to help Maryland right away, to be honest. He can really guard [and] he runs the floor extremely well. His offensive game came along and will continue. I think what [Maryland saw of Dodd in high school] excited them and he definitely made great strides with us. He’s going to be really good in the future.”
Dodd, a 6-foot-9, 240-pound center/forward, was a fixture in Massanutten’s lineup all year. Playing mostly the 5, Dodd teamed with point guard Frank Mason (Kansas), guard DeAndre Burnett (Miami), wing Ahmad Fields (Utah) and forward Garland Owens (Boston College) to power Massanutten to a 30-4 record and an Elite Eight finish in the National Prep School Invitational.
The individual performance for Dodd that really stands out in Myers’ mind was Massanutten’s win over Hargrave Military Academy. According to the coach, Dodd scored 22 points, had seven dunks, and grabbed “11 or 12 rebounds.”
“I just thought Damonte looked like a man amongst boys in that game,” Myers said. “They obviously have some really, really good players as well. It was a glimpse of what he could be. … He could have a chance to play down the road and make money one day.”
Myers said Dodd became “much more polished in the post” during his season at Massanutten, and exhibited comfort getting the ball on the block.
When he heads to College Park next fall, Dodd will join a roster that loses James Padgett to graduation and quite possibly Alex Len to the NBA. Charles Mitchell and Shaquille Cleare will return as sophomores, and redshirt junior Evan Smotrycz – a face-up 4 – will be eligible to play. Myers expects Dodd to complement those guys and join Maryland’s regular rotation.
“I think he’s a little bit different than [Mitchell and Cleare],” Myers said. “He brings something different to the table. Obviously those guys are really good players, wide bodies. I think Damonte probably is a little bit faster up and down. What I like most about him is he’s really, really good guarding ball screens. Everything in college basketball is [predicated] on ball screens. That will definitely help him. He’s got a bright future, for sure.”
Dodd is currently finishing up classes at Massanutten and getting in the gym and weight room "every day." Myers said Dodd is definitely leaving a positive mark on the school.
"One of the biggest things about Damonte is he’s an unbelievably good kid," Myers said. "On campus, in school, I’ve never heard anybody say a bad thing about him. Maryland fans [should be] getting excited because they’re getting a good basketball player who can help them win games."