E.A. Sports Today

Working his way

Burning midnight oil helped Cubs’ Dodd signs to play basketball at UAH, Ohatchee’s Shuler headed to Wallace; Alexandria volleyball seniors sign with Gadsden State

Ohatchee’s Kourtney Shuler is all smiles as she prepares to sign for cross country and basketball at Wallace State. On the cover is Alexandria’s Dalton Dodd during his signing ceremony with UAH.

By Al Muskewitz
East Alabama Sports Today

The street lights had already been on for hours and the time was well past normal for any type of outdoor recreation, but the familiar sounds of thump-thump-thump were breaking the otherwise silent night in the neighborhood.

While everyone else was inside watching TV or settling in for the night, there was Dalton Dodd out in the yard, putting up jump shots, foul shots, perfecting his inside moves. Whatever it took to bring his game to a high level, Dodd was doing it.

His brother, Cody Dodd, remembers the late-night shooting sessions well, especially at times he had an early class the next day. He’d go outside to mess with brother, but it was all in fun.

“He was working all the time,” said Cody, who not that long ago signed a baseball scholarship to JSU himself. “It’s non-stop with him. He’s got the drive like better than anybody I’ve ever seen.”

He knew why Dalton was out there so much. The reason was evident Thursday as the 6-foot-7½ Alexandria senior signed a scholarship to play basketball at UAH, his longtime favored choice.

“I’ve been waiting on this moment forever, really,” Dalton said. “I’ve always just worked hard to get here and now that it’s here it feels kind of weird.”

He couldn’t recall the latest he’s ever been outside working on his craft except to say it often was a long time. Just the other night, in fact, he was in the gym with a future Chargers teammate until well past midnight putting up shots.

Not even an injury could slow down his appointed rounds of practice. Last year when he was out most of December with an ankle injury he was still in the backyard sitting in a lawn chair practicing free throws.

“It just destroyed him not being able to play,” Cody said. “When he wasn’t out there on the court it was killing him.”

MORE SIGNINGS: Also Thursday, two days before running the final cross country race of her career, Ohatchee’s Kourtney Shuler was signing to run cross-country (and play basketball) at Wallace State. On Saturday she’ll be running in the state cross country championships on the Oakville Indian Mounds Park course near Moulton. … MVP Taylor Spradley and all-tournament selection Aubrey Pope, two seniors on Alexandria’s newly crowned state championship volleyball team, signed to play at Gadsden State on Wednesday … Late last week Oxford softball outfielder Ashleigh Reaves signed with Snead State.

Coming up, boys county cross country champion Matisse Miller of Pleasant Valley will sign with Jacksonville State Monday, two days after running in the state championship. … Oxford baseball players Brennan McCullough (Wallace State), Caden Higgins (Wallace State) and Tate Adams (Southern Union) are all signing Wednesday morning.

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