Sept. 17, 2009
Men’s basketball player, Darius Johnson-Odom, is a junior college transfer from Hutchinson Community College and one of six newcomers on this year’s team. Prior to the sophomore’s transfer to the Marquette, the Raleigh, N.C. native received First Team NJCAA All-America honors as a freshman at Hutch. Darius sat down with GoMarquette.com to share his experiences and evaluate his transition from junior college to MU, both on and off the court.
by Kara Mullikin
What was the biggest adjustment that you had to make coming from junior college to Marquette?
I went to Hutchinson Community College, which is in Hutchinson, Kansas, and I think the biggest adjustment from a junior college to a university is preparing for school, waking up in the morning for the workouts and being prepared for class.
What do you think of the Marquette campus and what do you like about Milwaukee?
What I like about the campus is that it’s really small and you can get to just about anywhere in 10 minutes. In compared to Hutchinson, it was horrible, because the town was small and there wasn’t a lot to do, which isn’t always a good thing.
Do you think having the campus in a larger city helps you focus more or less on basketball?
I think it helps me focus more because I'm around some really good guys who will help me keep my head straight, so I think I will be fine.
Which teammate are you rooming with this year? Also, who have you become the closest with on the team?
I’m rooming with Yous. And as for the closest member of the team, I would have to say it’s really everybody. I don’t just have one guy on the team that I talk to the most, I feel like they’re all my brothers.
What do you do in your free time when you are not playing basketball?
How many people do you have in your family? Have any of them played in college before? Also, how does your family feel about you playing at the collegiate level?
Some hobbies I enjoy are hanging with my teammates, shopping, playing video games and just having a good time.
In my family, I have a younger brother named Brandon, and my mom, Carolyn. My mother ran track in high school but not in college. My family is proud to see me playing at such an elite level and can’t wait until the season begins.
You were an all-state football player in high school as well, what was that like and why did you choose basketball over football?
I just love playing football. It was probably one of my number one focuses as a child. Everybody would go outside and play football in the lots. But, I had a basketball in my hands also as a kid and I just ran with it. I just continued to stride to get better, and it was just something I loved to do.
What was the transition like going from an all-state football player in high school to playing at an elite level in basketball?
It was an easy transition. Basketball wasn’t a new thing for me because I was playing since I was maybe six, so it was just the time and effort I was going to put into playing basketball.
How do you find the workouts here at Marquette in comparison to the workouts at Hutchinson? Do they challenge you more? Do you find them to be improving your game?
It would be both. They are both challenging and improving my game a lot. Coach Buzz gets the best out of his players, which I love, and it’s just going to help me in the near future to play in the BIG EAST.
How would you describe your game right now? And what do you think you need to work on the most?
I would say my game is more of an explosive player who can get to the rim and shoot mid-range and shoot beyond the arch as well as being a good defender on the ball. I do need to work on my help side defense a lot, and coach Buzz is helping me with that. I also have to learn how to get my feet right in order to play in the BIG EAST, which would give me an advantage against the defenders.
Are your teammates helpful during practices in helping you to improve your game?
I believe they are very helpful. A couple of guys are really experienced and we all have great talent here. I think that each and every player’s game improves by playing against each other every day.
You were recently injured while playing open gym. How is your foot and how are you approaching your recovery?
My injury is coming along. I got hurt in open gym and obviously I'm not a fan of being hurt but sometimes things happen for a reason. My injury is minor to me and I will be back in no time.