University of North Carolina at Asheville

Ryan Odom has taken UMBC basketball to new heights. What will he do next?

Ryan Odom has taken UMBC basketball to new heights. What will he do next?

When Ryan Odom was hired as the UMBC men’s basketball coach two years ago, he was ignorant of how the team played. He considered that a virtue. The Retrievers had won seven of the 32 games in their final season under Aki Thomas. There was a lot of tape on what they did well and a lot more on what they did poorly. Odom wanted nothing to do with it.

His first impressions, he knew, had to come from firsthand observations. At offseason practices, Odom saw that he had a potential star in Jairus Lyles, that the team could be a good fit for his pace-and-space offense, that the backcourt might need someone like K.J. Maura brought in. Unencumbered by what UMBC had been, he instead saw what...

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