Is Maryland's new pledge a late-bloomer?

This is the time of the year when players emerge from the obscure and wind up signing with major college programs. One example is Georgetown freshman Greg Whittington who went from “who’s that” to “he’s going to have a good career at Georgetown.” For me, the difference between Whittington and brand new Terrapin pledge Damonte Dodd (Centreville, Md./Queen Anne) is simple: we saw Whittington play; no one on our staff at ESPN has seen Dodd.

Until two months ago, neither had Maryland. Acting on a tip from a friend of the staff -- either an alum or a hoops junkie -- Dodd was brought to the Terps' attention. Maryland, in particular assistant coach Scott Spinelli, did his homework and in the end, the Terps edged out Georgetown, Niagara, Central Connecticut, Morgan State and a bunch of other small Division I schools that once thought they might have a steal or at the very least, a 6-foot-9, 240 pound prospect on their hands.

Though he played against hardly any Division I competition, Dodd nearly doubled his numbers from the previous year (always a great sign) to 24 points, 16 rebounds and a half dozen blocks. Turgeon and Spinelli each saw him twice and they watched countless matinees of film on the big fella before they pulled out the scholarship offer.

Dale Becraft, Dodd's coach, sees a guy who needs post moves and time to develop them.

“Personally, I think they did a really good job of doing their homework without dragging their feet,” Becraft said. “Here at the end Georgetown and Dayton had gotten in the mix. Even though he’s a sleeper he has tremendous upside. He rebounds and blocks shots really well. The only thing he’s lacking is (scoring) against guys bigger or the same size; he’ll adjust to that. Obviously he has some work to do because he doesn’t get pushed really much against the competition we’re playing.”

The plan is for Dodd to enroll at Maryland with the other senior recruits. He may redshirt but only because Turgeon himself wants to be tasked with the kid’s development. It sounds like Maryland is into him for the long run and according to the coach, is willing to be patient and bring him along properly. Again, this is a long term situation for both parties. However, in talking with Becraft, he has some traits that bode well.

  • Production is on the upswing