On every great basketball team there are at least a couple of key role players. These are the guys whose all-around game is a bit limited, but who manage to excel in one or two aspects of the game. Almost without fail, such players provide a fillip in some key area, which contributes tremendously to their team's overall efforts.
Texas Tech has had many such players. Darvin Ham, a starter at Tech who later had a good NBA career, was never a star for the Red Raiders. But Ham was an energizer and a terror defending opposing bigs.
Gionet Cooper, who played with Ham, was the quintessential role player. He never made a spectacular play, but his tough defense and solid rebounding helped Tech to many a win.
In Norense Odiase, Texas Tech looks to have recruited another critical role player type.
The first thing that jumps out about Odiase is his size. He's listed at 6-foot-9 and 265, and looks every bit of that and perhaps then some. Odiase is an extremely large, strong person who moves people around the court on both offense and defense. And seeing as how the modern NCAA official is loath to ever call the charge, road graders like Odiase can do some damage.
But Odiase's game at Tech, at least early on, will not be about offense. Rather, he will likely come off the bench to bolster the team's rebounding, to block some shots, and to move the ball around the court (he looks to be a good passer for a player his size).
Odiase is also good digging out the pumpkin and throwing accurate outlet passes. As the Red Raiders look to jumpstart their fast break game next season, Odiase could help simply through rebounding and finding cutters down court.
One thing to keep in mind about Odiase is that he enters Tech a freshman after a year of prep school ball in Florida. Under the guidance of a big man guru such as Tubby Smith, Odiase should improve by leaps and bounds, and by the time he's an upperclassman, could develop into something beyond role-playing.
Talent Assessment: Norense Odiase
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