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Imajae Dodd is, for all intents and purposes, an NCAA Division I college basketball player having already enrolled in summer school at UNC Wilmington. But the recent Greene Central High graduate hasn’t yet turned down a chance to play in an all-star game after his senior season with the Rams and the 6-foot-7 forward is looking forward to his next and final one as a high school player.
Dodd will take the floor for the East team Monday night in the Greensboro Coliseum in the North Carolina Coaches Association’s 71st annual East-West All-Star Game for boys basketball. Dodd, who played for North Carolina in the Carolinas Classic All-Star Game in March, is more than happy to be connected to the Rams for one last game.
“It feels great because I played all my years at Greene Central and just to play one last high school game and to represent them means a lot. It’s very special,” Dodd said in a telephone interview Friday afternoon.
He led the Rams to three straight North Carolina High School Athletic Association 2-A East Region championship games and to the state 2-A final in 2018, where they lost to Marshville Forest Hills. Dodd was named boys basketball player by The Wilson Times as well as the 2-A Eastern Plains Conference and landed on the North Carolina Basketball Coaches Association All-State second team after averaging 14.9 points, 8.2 rebounds and 5.1 blocks his senior season.
Dodd will be the first Ram to play in the East-West boys basketball game, an impressive feat considering that his head coach, Theodore “Blue” Edwards, was a Greene Central standout that went on to play at East Carolina University and for 11 seasons in the NBA, but didn’t play in the midsummer classic. Dodd is the eighth Greene Central athlete to be selected for all-star duty.
Dodd has been busy acclimating to life as a college student, which he admitted, has taking a little getting used to.
“It’s very different from high school,” he said. “The workouts are very different. It was tough to get adjusted to and get used to because it’s different.”
But as one of the pillars of UNCW head coach C.B. McGrath’s recruiting class, Dodd looks forward to getting on the court for the Seahawks, who suffered the losses of several transfers.
“We’re a very young team and have a lot of pieces to use to mesh together,” he said. “I feel like what I’m going to be able to bring will be great.”
One of the players the Seahawks lost, however, was senior Devontae Cacok, who signed a free-agent contract with the Los Angeles Lakers. Cacok, a 6-7 forward like Dodd, has done well in the NBA Summer League games, averaging 13.3 points and 9.3 rebounds.
“That’s a very big inspiration because for him to come from a mid-major like UNCW and get a chance in the league, that’s very big,” Dodd said.
Dodd is a rarity in that he and South Central’s Shykeim Phillips, who has also signed with UNCW, are the only Division I players on the East roster. Cary Panther Creek’s Justin McKoy, who is headed to the University of Virginia, had to drop out of the East-West game and was replaced by Southern Nash’s Darius Edmundson. Dodd and Phillips were also N.C. teammates in the Carolinas Classic. Dodd said that he’s pretty familiar with all the other East players.
“For everybody on the team I pretty much played against or played weekends with so I feel like I know everybody pretty well,” he said. “So we should mesh good together.”
One person who is excited that Dodd is going to be in Greensboro is East head coach Robbie Kennedy of Southern Nash.
“I’m happy he’s playing,” Kennedy said in a text Friday. “He’s a quality D-I player and I’m looking forward to working with him.”