While basketball is a game surrounded by circumstance, there are dozens of outside variables that can ultimately sway or determine how a player will progress. Genetics are a promising factor, especially for those with tall/athletic parents, which is part of what makes someone like Amari Odom a can’t-miss prospect. His mother, Trisha Stafford-Odom, was a former WNBA player and the current head coach of North Carolina Central’s women’s basketball program. However, the young Odom’s appeal and intrigue go far beyond the physical tools. He’s already regularly shown flashes of greatness, yet is still only scratching the surface of his long-term potential.
We recently saw Odom in September at our Phenom Challenge, where we stated, “It’s no secret that North Carolina’s Class of 2023 is being discussed as one of the most talented classes in recent memory, especially at the guard position. However, not enough folks are talking about Amari Odom as one of the better prospects in the state—despite possessing all the tools to be a special type of talent. Various others on this roster have been receiving attention, but there’s something so appealing about the smart, smooth, and mature way that he runs a team. Odom has an advanced IQ and sees the game unfold differently than most players, able to identify seams and openings before they actually emerge. Odom is an efficient scorer from all levels, but looks to get downhill and make plays whenever possible. He’s a sharp passer with excellent ball-handling abilities, which often forces the opposition to give him extra defensive attention. Between his IQ, size, and craftiness, Odom is going to get wherever he wants on the court and has the instincts to make the best possible decision with unwavering consistency. It’s still early in his development process, but Odom should quickly emerge as a Division I prospect going forward.”
Very little has changed since then, given our recent viewings have really shown Odom finding his footing within Panther Creek’s game plan. He’s still obviously dynamic, capable of running a team or operating without the ball in his hands–both with relative ease. Odom has the combination of size, skill, and upside to ultimately end up as one of the top prospects within his class. It’s still early, but college coaches would be wise to start laying groundwork immediately.