Keith Oddo reflects on his senior season, his unwavering will, and his basketball journey.
o n B A S K E T B A L L
From a very young age, I loved playing basketball. I believe on my third or fourth birthday, my parents got me a mini basketball goal that I kept in our living room throughout my childhood. I would run around the house shooting and dunking on the small goal, pretending I was a player in the NBA. As soon as I would come home from school, I would immediately go outside to the driveway and shoot. When it became too dark outside, I would have the mini goal in the living room to practice on before it was time to go to sleep. This became my daily routine, and I loved every second of it. I fell in love with the game at a very young age. Growing up in Roanoke, Virginia, I had an immediate role model in JJ Redick, who now plays for the Philadelphia 76ers. Just to know that a player of his caliber grew up just down the road from me always gave me extra motivation.
o n A D V E R S I T Y
There have been many obstacles that I have had to overcome as a player, physically and mentally. My freshman year I had three concussions, including being involved in a car accident. The summer before my sophomore year I tore two ligaments in my left ankle and missed three months. However, as a Division I athlete, injuries are going to happen and that is unfortunately part of life. For me, the biggest obstacle has been mental toughness and learning to be patient. After scoring over 1,000 points in high school, I have played in six college games in three full seasons. It has been a significant adjustment and at times has not been easy. A lot of people would have given up, maybe quit, and let this define them. However, I have used this as motivation to work as hard as I possibly can to become the best player and teammate that I can be. I feel like I am very close to achieving some lifelong goals of mine, including breaking into the rotation on the court, but without patience, none of this would be possible. I have learned to control what you can control, and to make the most out of every opportunity that is given to you.
o n P R I D E
The proudest moment I have had as a player is simply putting on a Richmond Spiders jersey every game. We have knocked off ranked teams, pulled off major upsets, and won a lot of games over these last few seasons. Last year, I hit a three pointer against a nationally-ranked team. I get to play for one of the greatest coaches in America. These are all moments that make me proud. However, I can remember when I was in high school and I would come visit my sister who was a student at U of R. I would sneak into the Robins Center late at night to shoot on the main court. I would get chills just being out there, dreaming of one day playing for the Spiders. To this day, putting on that Richmond jersey is in all honesty, a dream come true.
o n G O A L S
March Madness is every player's dream. It is a chance to make history. At the University of Richmond we have a wall that lists all of the teams that have made it to the NCAA tournament. Most recently, the 2011 team made it to the Sweet Sixteen, led by Richmond legends Kevin Anderson and Justin Harper. As a team, we want to go down in the history books and be remembered just like they are around this school. It has been seven seasons since then, and in seven seasons after I graduate, I want that Richmond team to look back on us, just like we look back at the 2011 team. We work relentlessly every single day, in the weight room, in practice, and when nobody is watching, in order to be great.