UIC center Tai Odiase was named to the Horizon League All-Defensive Team, the conference announced Tuesday.
Odiase, a 6-foot-9 sophomore, leads the nation in blocks per game and ranks No. 11 in block rate. He finished the regular season with averages of 9.7 points, 6.3 rebounds and 3.2 blocks per game.
“Tai has been an anchor for us on the defensive end throughout the season,” UIC coach Steve McClain said in a release. “He proved night in and night out that he is not only one of the best shot blockers in our conference, but one of the best in the country.”
Odiase struggled in December and early January but was a dominant force the final seven weeks of the regular season. In the final 15 games of the season, Odiase had seven games with at least 10 points, six rebounds and six blocks. No other player in Division I had more than three such games all season.
“Like all of our young players, you could see him gain an understanding of where to be and how to play guys as the season went on,” McClain said, “and I think that helped him to develop a confidence and a belief that he could be one of the best defenders in our league.”
In just two seasons, Odiase already ranks No. 5 all-time on UIC’s career blocks leaderboard.
Odiase joins Horizon League Defensive Player Vashil Fernandez as well as Green Bay forward Jordan Fouse, Wright State guard Joe Thomasson and Green Bay guard Carrington Love on the All-Defensive Team.