Throughout Bimini Jam, the Retrievers had loud support urging them on. Even when Retriever fans were outnumbered or the team was behind in a game, the fans never stopped cheering and their support added color to the Bimini experience. In addition, Retriever players and coaches could count on support from their families at the tournament.
Family members were present at the Bimini jam for junior-forward Arkel Lamar, sophomore-forward Brandon Horvath, freshman-guard Jose Placer and the Schweitz brothers. Head Coach Ryan Odom also had his wife and two sons with him in Bimini, and assistant coaches Nate Dixon and Matt Henry had their children with them as well.
Hunter Dixon, 15, is the son of Retriever assistant coach Nate Dixon. He attends Saint Mary’s school in Annapolis, and, like his father, he has a passion for basketball. He has plans to play basketball professionally, and with his dad by his side, he can achieve his goal.
“He is a good man,” Hunter said of his father. “He is a leader and a role model to me and the [Retriever men’s basketball] team.”
Hunter was happy to be able to support his father and the team in the Bahamas. It was his first time on the island, and he says the atmosphere and the people are very nice and that there is always something fun to do in the Bahamas.
Hunter often attends Retriever home games back in Baltimore, and he hopes to see UMBC win the America East championship and make the final four in NCAA tournament play.
Also in attendance at Bimini Jam was Odom’s son, Owen Odom. Owen, 12, also attends Saint Mary’s school in Annapolis and has a passion for basketball. He was a big part of UMBC’s loud support in Bimini and he had high praise for his dad.
“He can get really fired up or be calm,” Owen said of his father. “He is nice. If you keep asking him, he will let you get ice cream!”
Odom got fired up in the last game of the Bimini jam as the referee called a foul on sophomore-guard Josh Rosario and gave him a technical foul for dissent. Odom ran screaming obscenities at the referee and charged at him before being restrained by the Retriever bench.
The incident showed that Odom has a passion for the game and this sentiment was echoed by his wife, Lucia Odom.
“There were some unfair calls and he felt like he needed to say what he thought,” Lucia said of the heated moment. “Ryan’s pretty calm but when you press his buttons, he can get fired up and that is what happened tonight. He is not going to sit there and let something slide that shouldn’t.”
Lucia Odom also shared her expectations for the Retrievers during the regular season.
“[I am looking forward to] us doing better than last year,” Lucia said. “[I want us to] keep pushing forward. Even though you get some disappointing losses like [the final tournament game against South Dakota], you learn from them, move forward and make sure you improve on the next.”
UMBC players and coaches would have been pleased to look up into the bleachers and see their family members cheering them on. In turn, they produced a performance that everyone connected to UMBC can be proud of. The players and fans alike would now be looking forward to continuing the good performances in the regular season.