After losing five transfers in the offseason, including Shaquille Cleare and Charles Mitchell, Maryland needed to re-load and find a new starting center.
According to a report from Don Markus of the Baltimore Sun, head coach Mark Turgeon spoke glowingly of sophomore center Damonte Dodd during a morning breakfast with boosters. The 6-foot-11 Dodd played spot minutes backing up Cleare and Mitchell during his freshman season, but he’s now up to 255 pounds after adding 15 pounds from last season.
Maryland might have found its new starting center.
“Damonte Dodd’s maybe one of our most improved players,” Turgeon said of Dodd. “If the season starts tonight, Damonte would be our starting center. I feel that would be an upgrade from what we were last year at this time.”
Dodd only averaged 7.5 minutes per game last season — and 0.7 points and 1.5 rebounds — but he’s playing better than incoming freshman center Michal Cekovsky, according to Turgeon.
“The best thing about Damonte is that he knows who he is,” Turgeon said. “So many big guys want to be who they’re not. Damonte knows he’s a shotblocker and a rebounder, a hustle guy [who’s good setting and defending] ball screens and the things he’s doing will make him a really good player.”
If Maryland has found its rim protector, Turgeon can put Jake Layman and Evan Smotrycz at the other front court spots and let them spread the floor. The Terrapins need to have a successful year for Turgeon to cool down some of the current heat he’s facing for losing five transfers while never making the NCAA Tournament.