Twitter & Instagram: @josh_oduro
For athletes, success comes in many different forms. By now, we all most likely have heard of various quotes stating how hard work will come with desired results. Such results may be viewed differently, depending on who is asked. Categories of success include: wins, personal improvement, accolades, college interest/offers, etc. Nonetheless, these results can vary in their arrival. Some athletes gain their success immediately. Others may have to wait longer. Situations even happen when an athlete earns one form of success but not the one he/she had been seeking. It all varies as a part of the process within an athlete’s life. Personally, I always enjoy to see when an athlete stays focused on their craft and ultimately has a great deal of success as a reward. Josh Oduro ’19 is a great example. Dating back to this past spring, a lot of exciting things have happened for the Paul VI forward.
This past high school season, Oduro played a key role in the Panthers’ state tournament run back in March. His physical play, defense, and tenacious rebounding (on both ends) helped propel his team to taking home the trophy; they had lost in the 2017 title game to Trinity Episcopal School. A high school championship season may have been satisfying enough for some but Oduro wasted no time in turning his eyes right to travel ball once the spring arrived. As a member of Team Takeover 17u, the elite squad had a remarkable season in going 25-2 overall. They won championships at both the Nike ‘Peach Jam’ and ‘The 8’ tournaments. Not long afterwards, Oduro decided to cut his recruitment list down to six schools before choosing George Mason University on August 19th. In all, it was quite the spring/summer for the Northern VA native.
Honestly, I’m not surprised this massive wave of success has come Oduro’s way, considering all of the work he’s put in. I’ve actually had the opportunity to see it up close. I met Oduro in the gym back during the summer of 2016, when I was training for my own college career. We both were training in Northern VA constantly throughout that entire summer and the following one as well. It didn’t take long for me to notice how Oduro was a workaholic. He showed up to the gym EVERY DAY. As a result, his skills started to improve at a noticeably fast rate. I knew from day one that he had a chance to play at the next level due to his size alone; Oduro currently stands at 6’9. He always has had exceptional strength for a high schooler and patience on how to use it offensively. However, his interior defense stood out the most. His instincts on how to cut off opponents and block shots were above the norm of high school ability at such a young age. When I watched him battle in the VISSA Division 1 state tournament back in March, I saw that same special defensive play. Oduro’s disciplined mindset of staying in the gym has played out nicely in making him into the player he is today. Now, he has bigger plans for his upcoming senior season and future:
How’s the school life at Paul VI, disregarding the basketball aspect?
“It’s been great, I’ve definitely learned a lot since coming here. The school has forced me to really focus and sharpen my work habit. I’ve had a lot more homework and studying compared to public school. So, I think overall it’s made me a lot smarter. Not just in academics but how to approach academics too.”
You’ve had a big year in winning both high school and circuit championships, along with your commitment. Has it all settled in yet?
“Overall, it’s settled in pretty much. When I look back, in retrospect, it’s definitely been a crazy ride. But, I think that I’m definitely able to stay on top of it.”
What drew you into joining Team Takeover for this summer?
“A couple of things. First, the level of competition that I would experience every practice. Playing against top-level guys in every game with exposure. I also knew that it would be an opportunity to play with my two guards from Paul VI. Stuff like that. My goal is to keep working to better myself as the best version of a player I can be and I knew that Team Takeover would aid into that.”
Favorite moment of travel ball?
“My favorite moment… had to be when we won Peach Jam. As soon as the clock ran out, I remember us all running onto the court to celebrate. It was such a great feeling. It went back to knowing how much work we put in to practice. We also had just lost an earlier game to another Nike team and had to bounce back. Just the longevity of the season and being with the guys, it felt good to win that.”
What have you been working on to improve for this upcoming school season?
“It’s been a mix of working on strengthening skills I do well now and some new things. One main focus though is my overall athletic ability. I’ve been in the weight room as much as possible. I’ve also been working on increasing the consistency of my shot and my touch around the rim. Ball-handling skills as well. I want to have an all-around game and will do anything it takes to get there.”
Has your high school coach discussed with you on what he’ll need from you as a senior?
“Yes. I know that I’ll have to step up more in production but the biggest thing he’ll need from me is being a senior leader. Help leading our team in the locker room, taking a more vocal role, and just being that veteran on the team.”
Team/personal goals for Paul VI this season?
“Definitely want to win the WCAC, state tournament, and Alhambra Catholic Invitational. Those are three championships we want to get to as a team. Personally, I want to show that I’ve improved as a player and keep working on tools that will transition into the long run. I also want to see the young guys around me perform well. The post/wing guys and I work a lot together in practice and I want to see them succeed.”
What made you ultimately decide on George Mason?
“Well, the biggest thing was that they were my number one choice and I was their number one priority. So, I didn’t really want to wait after that. Also, three things about the school stood out:
- I like their education; it’s a strong business school and they’re a Research I institution.
- I really like the coaching staff. Their personalities fit the culture that they’re looking to build at George Mason. Their player development in the program stood out. For me, that’s the most important thing. I’m not the same player I was sixth months ago, let alone a year ago. I just want to continue to get better in everything I do. That’s the one thing they guaranteed on the table.
- They have a great arena and campus!”
You had a pretty lengthy list of schools to choose from. Did the majority of your offers come in at once during the spring? Or was it more of a gradual process?
“They all kind of came in during the spring and summer. It first started back in the winter too. I got my first offer during last season when we played at DeMatha for the first time. After that, they just all started to flow in. I had about 20 offers total.”
Has the George Mason coaching staff talked to you about potential roles/expectations during your first year on campus?
“Yes. We discussed that specifically during one of my visits. They told me how they have big plans for me overall. They want me to become an elite scorer and help the team get back to where they were years ago when they made it to the final four. As a freshman, the plan right now is for me to come in and play under a transfer who will be a senior. I’ll be able to play alongside him. After that, there won’t be any guarantees, of course. Hopefully, I’ll be able to secure a starting spot and make a bigger impact. I’m excited for it all.”
Any idea of what you may want to study at George Mason?
“Yes, I’m not 100% sure at the moment but the business aspect of things is what I’m looking into mostly right now. I’ve been taking a couple of tests and personality stuff. That focus of study is biggest on my radar right now.”
Hobbies outside of ball?
“I like to hang out with my friends and family. You’ll definitely catch me with my family when I’m not in the gym. We have a big one, especially on my dad’s side. A lot of them live in the area and we try to see them as much as possible whenever we have a chance. I also like to play video games often. Not as much now as I used to though.”
Where does Josh Oduro see himself in ten years?
“Hopefully, I see myself playing professional basketball. That’s been a big dream of mine for a while now and I’d like to see it happen.”
Sky is the limit for the big fella. Paul IV and George Mason fans should be more than excited!