He was the one screaming to distract Retrievers’ opponents when their players were at the free throw line. He was the one dribbling a basketball and taking shots while sitting on the opposition bench. He was the one always decked out in UMBC gear all through Bimini Jam in the Bahamas. He is Owen Odom, UMBC basketball super fan and son of Head Coach Ryan Odom.
Owen loves basketball, and he supports the Charlotte Hornets as well as the Retrievers. He also likes to watch the Carolina Panthers in the NFL and play Fortnite in his spare time. He attends Saint Mary’s school in Annapolis, Maryland along with Assistant Coach Nate Dixon’s son, Hunter. The two of them could be seen having their own shootaround before each game, during halftime, and after the court was cleared during the tournament.
One peculiar moment came in the final game of Junkanoo Jam during one of the boys’ shootarounds. Ahead of the game against South Dakota, security guards at the tournament took the basketballs away from the pair of young Retrievers and instructed them to return to the bleachers. Other kids would have obeyed in fear of further punishment but not Owen. “I just really like to play basketball,” Owen said. “So I didn’t really care [that the security guards told me to stop playing].” Owen continued to play basketball on the court despite the words of the guards still ringing in his ears. In fact, Owen moved to South Dakota’s bench so that he would not be spotted, and dribbled the basketball by himself during the teams’ pre-game warmup.
It was Owen’s second time in the Bahamas, and he said he was excited when he found out that he would be returning to the island. He has enjoyed his time in Bimini, taste testing burgers, fries and fish eyeballs while on the island. His mother also spoke about the hospitality that the family has enjoyed on the island. Owen got the opportunity to play basketball with some Bimini middle school kids during recess. He also made new friends during the game.
Owen is a fervent Retriever fan and his passion is epitomized by his foot stamps and a long screech at every opposition free throw. He also mocked South Dakota forward Matt Johns’ resemblance to professional basketball player Joakim Noah when Johns was at the line. Owen distracts the opponents to give UMBC an advantage, and while it is unclear how effective his screech was, UMBC did make more free throws than their opponents in two of their three games. So how did young Owen come up with the idea?
“I just did [the scream] randomly [the first time],” Owen said. “Then I stuck with it. I couldn’t do it as much [in the last game against South Dakota] because I hurt my voice [from doing it so much in the first two games].”
“It is the worst noise you could possibly hear,” his mom said of the scream. “It is horrible but good for us [because it distracts the opponent].”
The Retrievers were unfortunate to lose their last game in Bimini but they still won the tournament courtesy of a better head-to-head record than High Point University. Now that Bimini Jam is over, Owen has set a brazen target for the Retrievers.
“[I am looking forward to] UMBC doing better than we did last year,” Owen said of his hopes for the Retrievers this season. “And beating Vermont again.”