A big part of the optimism going into this season for Xavier was the strength of the incoming recruiting class. Dwon Odom looked to be an incredibly important part to the team because he brought in the point guard skill set that no other guard really had. Odom was highly touted for his athleticism and finshing ability. The questions were about his ability to defend at the college level as well as shoot from beyond 10 feet. While his shooting remained questionable, his hustle, effort and ball handling always looked solid even through the covid pauses that plagued the season.
Odom got the start in the beatdown against Oakland and looked exactly how he was advertised; he was quick, explosive and fearless in the lane. Game two saw Odom in the spotlight twice in the final minute. The first instance was when he decided to attack the rim without any support and missed. After losing the lead, X came back down the floor and Odom redeemed himself and hit the game winner to narrowly escape Bradley. Odom capped off the Xavier Invitational with a good performance against Toledo and he finished the weekend with a game-winner, 14 assists and only 2 turnovers over his first three college games. EKU was another step back as Odom coughed the ball up 7 times. He got back on track in the Shootout when he played relentless defense and attacked the rim fearlessly to close the game out.
Odom was held out after the first Covid pause but came back for a big dunk against St John’s and dropped some dimes on Providence. The second pause saw his minutes drop off considerably but he played well in only 13 minutes against Butler and was the lone brightspot in the roadtrip to Providence. Odom then came up big in a win over Creighton that momentarily saved the season. His line of 12/3/4 looks solid but Odom was instrumental in this game and made big plays to close it out late. Unfortunately for Odom, his biggest play of the season ended up being a footnote in the final game of the season. He went for 14 on 7-9 shooting and committed no turnovers and blocked a shot at the end of regulation to force OT of a game that had gotten away from X. With a lead in overtime, Odom fouled for reasons best known to him and X lost. This loss wasn’t all on him, but he carried the team through a rough night and was nearly the hero but was let down by a momentary lapse in judgment.
Yes, a guy who shot 15% from 3 is getting a B- on offense. The reasoning for this is that Odom doesn’t need to shoot the 3 well to be effective. Odom never hunted his shot on offense and got most of his chances on drives or ball movement. These chances got him to the paint where he was much more comfortable. He shot 62% at the rim and 47% on far 2s according to Bart Torvik. Odoms free throw shooting left a lot to be desired though as he only shot 60% on the year. Another big value Odom brings offensively is that he takes care of the ball. His TOrate is very good considering how often he has the balland his assist rate is second on the team to Paul Scruggs. So, while Odom isn’t gonna get hot on his jumper he can bully opponents in the lane and also set his teammates up well on the offensive.
Odom stands at only 6’1” but was third on the team in block% behind Freemantle and Carter. His strength and jumping ability helped him deny shots even if the offensive player had gotten past him. If you use defensive metrics (which can be a bit tricky) Odom boosted the Musketeers overall defense more than any other player this season. His individual rating was 3rd on the team behind Scruggs and Carter. He was prone to some freshman moments, like fouling with a lead, but Odom was solid defensively and picked up some key blocks that not many other guards could have pulled off.
The things that Odom is good at he is really good at. Ball security, finishing inside the arc and using his athleticism to his advantage. It’s no secret that his jumper is broke and he did have a few standout mental lapses this season but he usually boosted the overall play of the team. In a freshman season that was frequently halted by Covid, Odom rolled with the punches as well as could have been expected and never backed down from whatever challenge was thrown his way.