Apr. 17—PIEDMONT — Alex Odam has a future beyond high school in basketball. Jacksonville State and UAB have offered Piedmont's sophomore, and that's only the beginning.
He's testing his hoops mettle for Atlanta-area AAU's Team Forrest, coached by former Georgia Tech player James Forrest, this spring. Odam plays competition sure to improve his game and broaden his prospects.
For now, the 6-foot-2 point guard is one of Calhoun County's top players. In fact, he proved himself the best among 1A-3A schools in 2020-21.
Odam is The Anniston Star's Class 1A-3A Calhoun County boys basketball player of the year after leading Piedmont to the Northeast Regional semifinals, where the Bulldogs lost to eventual state champion Fyffe.
Piedmont beat Childersburg in the subregional and won its 3A area, which included Weaver, Ohatchee and Pleasant Valley.
Odam, a first-team pick on the Alabama Sports Writers Association's 3A all-state team for the second year in a row, averaged 23.5 points, 2.6 rebounds and 3.9 assists. He had 60 steals and finished the season with 1,849 points, breaking Piedmont's all-time scoring record.
Odam spoke with Star Sports Writer Joe Medley for the player-of-the-year Q&A:
Question: Who's on your AAU team?
Answer: Nobody from around here. They're all from Atlanta, We've got a 7-footer who's pretty good. He's from Africa, south Sudan, and just got a Vandy offer.
Q: What's it like playing with that level of competition?
A: It's so different. It's crazy. Every game, the level of competition is just so much better. It's a lot more physical and fast-paced. It's just different.
Q: What kind of adjustment is that?
A: I feel like I'm playing my game. I've been playing pretty good lately, actually, but it's still different. Getting shots is a whole lot tougher. The defense is tougher. The athleticism makes it a lot harder.
Q: How do you view the high school season that was for you and the team?
A: We didn't end the way we wanted, but it was a pretty solid year. We had ups and downs. Especially around Christmas, we started playing bad. Overall, I had as much fun this year as I've had yet. The group of guys we had just made it a lot funner. It was a real fun year, pretty successful, too.
Q: You mentioned Christmas. You guys had a quarantine break shortly after that. How much did that affect things?
A: That was tough, which it's crazy, but I think it helped us. We were struggling before the break, and then we had quarantine and came back and won, like, seven or eight straight. I just know we started playing a whole lot better.
Q: What does the school scoring record mean to you?
A: It's cool, but I want to win more, I guess.
Q: With the guys you have coming back next year, what kind of prospects does the team have?
A: We've got Luke Bussey, Omarion Foster, Jack Hayes and Coleman Reid. We lost Sean (Smith) and Jakari (Foster) and Jadon Calhoun. We'll be solid again. Fyffe lost a bunch of people. Plainview is going to be Plainview, but with Fyffe losing a bunch, we've got some good players coming back. I think we've got a shot.
Q: What's the main thing you hope to improve on this offseason?
A: Defense and talking, mainly. I've got to start communicating more and being a leader. To be a point guard at the next level, I'm going to have to open my mouth instead of just assuming that everybody knows, like, what I want. Try to be the coach on the court.
Q: How do you view recruiting at this point?
A: I've got two more years left. I'm not worried about anything major right now. It's exciting, but just whatever comes and whatever I feel like is the best fit for me. Not necessarily trying to get anything bigger, just doing what I feel is best for me, down the road.
Q: Back on the night you broke the record, your mom told the story about your cowboy days. What about that?
A: I just always wanted to be a cowboy. My granddad had cows, and stuff, and I just loved that and always wanted to go to rodeos and wear my boots and stuff. Things have changed a lot.
Sports Writer Joe Medley: 256-235-3576. On Twitter: @jmedley_star.