Finally, Tai Odiase has his Horizon League Defensive Player of the Year award.
The 6’9″ forward led the conference with 2.9 blocks per game, which also ranks 6th nationally. He also had the league’s top block rate and ranked 10th in defensive rebounding percentage in conference play.
With 235 career blocks, Odiase is already No. 2 on UIC’s all-time blocks list, less than 40 rejections behind Scott VanderMeer for the program record. So expect him to make history some time around the middle of next season.
Odiase also ranks 4th on the Horizon League’s all-time blocks list and needs 75 more to break the record. (For some perspective, he’s had at least 90 each of the last two seasons and could still get a few more before this year ends.)
Odiase has now led the Horizon League in blocks for two straight years after finishing No. 2 his freshman year. If he finishes in the top two again as a senior, he will become the first player in conference history to finish first or second all four years.
Sixth-seeded UIC plays No. 3 seed Green Bay in the Horizon League quarterfinals Sunday. Odiase averaged 4.5 blocks against the Phoenix in the regular season, although the Flames got swept.