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Monday, August 3, 2020

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Dodson decides to cut ties with Rice and head to pros


The last two years have been good to Rice outfielder Jordan Dodson.

Dodson was a full-time starter on an Owls’ team that reached the College World Series in back-to-back seasons. He enjoyed the best campaign of his collegiate career after batting .302 with eight home runs and 55 RBIs last season.

But even after all that, Dodson, a product of The Woodlands, wasn’t completely satisfied with his situation. And that’s why he decided not to return to Rice for his senior year, although he went undrafted in this year’s major-league draft.

Moisekapenda Bower, who covers Rice for the Houston Chronicle, reported in his Chronicle blog covering Rice (blogs.chron.com/owls) Tuesday that Dodson would forego his final year of collegiate eligibility for a shot at professional baseball via the free-agent route.

According to Bower, a few people with knowledge of the situation told him "that Dodson wasn’t pleased with his role."

The latter statement could translate into any number of scenarios, so trying to pinpoint the exact cause for Dodson’s startling departure would be a waste of time. Whatever the case, it’s an unexpected end to Dodson’s collegiate career, which still packed potential.

No doubt, he could have been a feature player next season while no longer playing under the shadow of standouts Joe Savery and Brian Friday, who were first and third round picks, respectively, in the major-league draft. He also would have had a chance to help Rice finally get over the hump, after falling one victory short of the national championship series the last two seasons.

In the end, Dodson ignored the endless possibilities of continuing his career at Rice and chose his own path. He made the decision he felt would most benefit his baseball career.

By no means should he be faulted for that.

Almond signs the dotted line Former Rice guard Morris Almond, who was a first-round selection in this year’s NBA draft, officially began his professional career after signing a contract with the Utah Jazz last week.

Almond, the 25th overall pick, is set to make approximately $1.7 million over two years. The contract also contains one-year options for Almond’s third and fourth years. Both options are controlled by Utah.

Almond, the 2007 Conference USA Player of the Year, practiced with Utah’s summer-league team on Monday and will compete in the Rocky Mountain Revue, which runs from Friday through July 20. His debut will come against Atlanta’s summer-league team on Friday.

Almond averaged 26.4 points per game as a senior at Rice.

They’re all good sports Conference USA announced its annual Sportsmanship Awards on Monday. The awards are handed out to student-athletes, coaches or teams that generally display high degrees of good sportsmanship.

The lucky recipients for this year were Memphis’s Rusty Clayton (football), Rice’s Ryne Tacker (baseball), Tulsa’s Dominic Cervi (men’s soccer) and East Carolina’s Brie Berkowitz (women’s track and field) and Geoff Handsfield (men’s swimming).

The University of Central Florida Student-Athlete Advisory Committee also received an accolade for its sportsmanship.

Lafayette keeping dream alive Former UH guard Oliver Lafayette has resurfaced again.

Lafayette, who finished his collegiate career with the Cougars last season, is currently competing in the NBA summer league as a member of the Sacramento Kings’ summer-league squad. The summer-league provides another window to the NBA for Lafayette, who is a long shot to make the Kings’ regular season roster.

The 6-2, 180-pound Lafayette played two seasons for the Cougars and averaged 15 points, 5.1 rebounds and 2.86 steals per game. So far, he has yet to see any action in summer-league play.


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