Midnight Madness returns to Cole Field House
At the team's media day in October, freshman center Damonte Dodd said he measured at 6-10 with a 37-inch vertical leap. Embellishment, right? Had to be.
Fellow freshman and former AAU teammate Roddy Peters verified the numbers without being prompted.
"He's legit," Peters said.
And that's what Dodd is at this point as his college career is set to begin. He's a raw, supremely athletic big man who can run the floor with the guards and play above the rim, but will still play limited minutes in a relatively crowded frontcourt.
Dodd was solid in Maryland's 84-39 exhibition win on Sunday at Comcast Center.
In relief of sophomore Charles Mitchell and Shaquille Cleare, Dodd played just 11 minutes but scored four points, grabbed eight rebounds, and blocked two shots.
On one sequence in the first half over the course of three possessions, he closed out two possessions with strong defensive rebounds and began the fastbreak. He blocked a shot on the third.
"I can't tell you how far that kid has come," Turgeon said after the game. "Since our first practice this summer, he's just come and he works. He's a great kid. He's got no ego and those are fun to coach."
But, as will all freshman, with the positives come the negatives. During one sequence on Sunday, he fumbled what could have been a routine defensive rebound, which was grabbed by a Catholic player and laid back up for two, plus a shooting foul on Dodd that appeared to be out of frustration.
"He's got a lot to learn," Turgeon said. "He forgets things when he's out there. He forgets assignments defensively, forgets things offensively, but he's so much further along than he was a month ago or even this summer."
With new NCAA rules that are expected to increase the number of fouls called by referees. Depending on how a game is officiated, that deep frontcourt could easily be thinned out to the point of needing Dodd to play meaningful minutes.
"He brings us energy," Turgeon said. "When you play 35, 38, 40 games, whatever we're going to play this year, we're going to come out flat a few times and he'll bring that energy for us."