HILLSBORO, TX.—It took a little longer than he expected,but John Odoh is going to get the chance to play college basketball for JohnnieJones.
Originally committing to Jones when he was the Head Coachof North Texas, the 6-10, 228-pounder again committed to Jones this time as theTigers Head Coach and will be enrolling at LSU in January with two seasons tobegin starting with the 2013-2014 season. Last season at Hill Junior CollegeOdoh led the nation in rebounding at 14.7 to go along with 4.6 blocks and 12.9points a game.
“He’s (Odoh) a true center,” Hill Junior College HeadCoach Swede Trenkle said. “Offensively he is going to be a back to the basketkind of guy that can score from 10-feet and in. He has got a good drop stepwith a jump hook and can power move up through opposing defenders.
“Defensively he led the country in rebounding and Ibelieve he was third (in the country) in blocked shots. He is a power strongkid even though he doesn’t weigh that much. He likes to bang in the blocksdefensively and he rebounds the ball exceptionally well. I really do feel likehe is going to be able to hang well in the Southeastern Conference inside inthe paint because he won’t weigh 228 the first time he puts his uniform on inthe first game of the season. His frame will allow him to at least grow up to240 pounds if not more. He is a kid that works extremely hard and being at aplace as productive and good as LSU when it comes to weight rooms and stufflike that with a strength and conditioning coach with a proper diet compared towhat we can do at a junior college level. We were able to put 18 pounds on himwhen we got him so there is no doubt in my mind that he is going to be a lotbigger and stronger and just as athletic when he puts on the uniform for LSU.”
A red flag that Trenkle was quick to put down was alsoany possible problems off the court that Odoh may be since he attended twojunior colleges before choosing to continue his career at LSU.
“As far as any problems on and off the court that willabsolutely not be a problem,” he said. “(Odoh) is one of the best kids that I haveever coached. Sometimes when young men come in from overseas, they have nochoice of where they go. They are told where to go. He went to Lincoln Trail JCand they never had one problem with him. They just could not help him as far aswhat he needed academically to progress. That is why he left Lincoln Trail, noother reason than that. They wanted him (as far as the coaching staff atLincoln Trail) back. They couldn’t afford to keep him there as far as the academicside of things.
“We were able to bring him in here (at Hill JC) and startworking on his classes. He is just a stable and good person. He can be on campus(in Baton Rouge) two weeks in and there won’t be a person on campus that won’treally like this young man. Academically now he is fine. He is on pace. He isin four classes right now here and will graduate in December and move ontoBaton Rouge. He is a young man that takes his academics very seriously. When hegot here initially he got a little behind the eight-ball just being aninternational kid. It took him some time to adjust. Working hard and studyingis something that he takes a lot of pride in. He will be absolutely findacademically. He is a 3.0 student since he has been with us. He is a goodstudent.”
In terms of why he decided to come to LSU, Trenkle saidin the end he believes the relationship with Jones no matter what the school wasthe driving force behind him deciding to go to LSU.
“It started out all about his relationship with JohnnieJones,” he said. “Once he was able to go down to Baton Rouge on an unofficialvisit this summer with one of his mentors he was sold. It was a done deal; heloved everything that he saw. Obviously he has a close relationship to Johnnie.You are talking about a young man that has not had a lot of people since hearrived in the United States that he felt close to. When he finds that kind ofperson and he did in Johnnie he will follow him anywhere. He trusts him.”