Dodd leaves lasting legacy for Greene Central basketball

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From one Greene Central High legend to another, Rams head coach Theodore “Blue” Edwards saw enough great things from Imajae Dodd in one season to gain perspective on the 6-foot-6 senior’s career. Dodd led the Rams to three consecutive North Carolina High School Athletic Association 2-A Eastern finals, unprecedented in program history, putting Greene Central basketball back on the map decades after it possibly was best known for where Edwards, a former NBA player, went to the county’s only high school.

“He’s one of, if not the best player to ever play at Greene Central and certainly getting his team to three consecutive regional finals and getting them to a second-place finish (in 2018) that hasn’t been done before and it may not ever be done again,” said Edwards, the former East Carolina University star and NBA veteran who took over for Charles Harris after the 2017-18 season. “So he certainly has repositioned Greene Central to be recognized and to be relevant.”

Dodd, a UNC Wilmington signee who was named to the North Carolina Basketball Coaches Association All-State Second Team and the 2-A Eastern Carolina Conference Player of the Year, is The Wilson Times Boys Basketball Player of the Year. A three-time Times All-Area selection, Dodd played in the North Carolina Coaches Association’s Carolinas Classic in March and has been selected to play in the NCCA’s East-West All-Star Game.

Soft-spoken and unassuming, Dodd understands his place in school history.

“I feel like I’m always going to be remembered as a special player who came to Greene Central,” he said. “I just feel like people will look back and see what I did for Greene Central and Greene County as a whole.”

Edwards noted that Dodd’s drive to play hard in games and work hard in practice has helped him become the player he is. Beyond that, the quiet senior was the quintessential teammate.

“He clearly wants team success above his own,” Edwards said. “He knows that he’s going to be a big part of what the team does so therefore, he’s not selfish or worried about his numbers or anything like that. He’s a team player. All the stuff you dream about and you push in your players, he embodies that.”

Dodd did it all for the Rams, especially as a senior. He led them to a 23-8 record and the 2-A Eastern Carolina Conference title and back to the 2-A Eastern final for a third time while averaging 14.9 points, 8.2 rebounds, 2.0 assists and a whopping 5.1 blocks, which ranks third in the state in all classifications and associations, per Maxpreps.com.

“I feel like I played very good and a lot of people didn’t expect me to play at the level that I played at this year,” Dodd said.

Edwards contends that Dodd’s defensive presence was the most exciting thing about his game.

“His legacy is going to be one of the top players to have ever played there and, I’ll say this, he may be the best two-way player ever at Greene Central,” Edwards said. “As a coach, I’ve never been so excited watching a guy block shots because I could see the effort. He didn’t just block shots by his man. He didn’t just block shots around the basket. It was wherever someone was trying to take a shot that he could reach.”

Dodd was simply dominant in the post but he didn’t limit himself in that regard.

“I try to play everywhere. I’m a post player but I’m also a wing player. I like to be able to do multiple things,” he said.

He also proved to be a good passer, which was critical to the Rams’ success given the number of double- and even triple-teams he faced.

“One thing I tried to stress to my players this year was that we were going to play through Imajae as much as possible and that we were going to be an inside-outside team,” explained Edwards. “For my guards in particular, it would be a lot easier for them if they used Imajae a lot in pick-and-roll situations because the defense would have to make a decision about how they were going to guard you. So, we tried to use him as the focal point of our offense and we also used him as a decoy, and in doing that, it gave the rest of my guys the opportunity to drive to the basket and get open shots. So, yeah, he did make a lot of my players better by getting them an easier and higher-percentage shot.”

And it goes back to that work ethic that Edwards pointed out.

“As soon as practice was over I would probably stay at practice for a couple of hours putting a hundred to two hundred shots,” Dodd said. “That’s just how dedicated I am to the sport. Nobody loves this sport more than me!”

After playing for Charles Harris for his first three years at Greene Central, Dodd wasn’t sure what was next when Harris took a job at start-up school South Garner in his hometown after taking the Rams to the 2-A state final in 2018. Dodd briefly considered leaving Greene Central and going to a prep school where his talent would be seen by a greater number of people.

“That was something I talked about, trying to explore other schools, but I felt like you can never leave Greene Country,” Dodd said. “Greene County has been an amazing place and has helped me grow as a basketball player and even more in the classroom. So I just felt like being in Greene County is a blessing.”

And Dodd has been a blessing for Greene County.