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Senior Day Sentimentality: Keith Oddo

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Louisville’s walk-on hype man says goodbye after a memorable first and last season with the Cards.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL: JAN 18 Louisville at Duke Photo by Mary Holt/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

A 2008-09 study conducted by University of California, Berkeley scientists Michael Kraus and Dacher Keltner concluded that there was a direct correlation between the NBA teams that high-fived the most and their level of success.

The teams that appeared to be the most cohesive and upbeat were almost always among the most successful in the league. The squads that had players who looked like they were just there because they needed to be in order to collect their paychecks almost always wound up missing the playoffs.

This is where Keith Oddo’s value resides.

In an era where it’s hard to find a type of transfer that could be categorized as “abnormal” Oddo’s situation fits the bill. He came to Louisville as a grad transfer walk-on after spending three seasons at Richmond where he scored a grand total of nine points while also serving as a walk-on.

When it became apparent that Oddo’s basketball skills were never going to be enough to pay the bills, he set out on a new mission to lay a foundation for a career in coaching. At the encouragement of former Richmond teammate Khwan Fore — who played for Louisville as a grad transfer in 2018-19 — Oddo decided to become a Cardinal and learn as much as possible from the teachings of Chris Mack and company.

Mack admitted before the start of the season that he found the whole thing just a bit strange.

“I thought it was sort of odd to have a grad transfer walk-on. But he’s been great. He goes hard, he has a great voice, cares about our team, and I’m really glad he’s a part of it.”

In addition to his unbridled enthusiasm on the bench and his status as one of the most popular players in the Cardinal locker room, Oddo has also developed quite the social media following. His affinity for Oreo milkshakes has become so well-known that fans will ask him to review the Oreo milkshakes at certain local establishments or send him their own reviews to get his thoughts.

This is the value of spending a season at a place like Louisville, where the fan base is obsessive over players 1-17, not just players 1-7.

Of course there were other reason to pick U of L as well.

“I wanna win and I wanna be a part of a team that can come back here in 20 years and say, hey, that was the ‘19-’20 squad that won it all,” Oddo said before the start of the season. “That, to me, goes further than going to a Division II school and averaging 16 points a game.”

A meticulous note-taker, Oddo says he’s jotted down pages and pages of notes and filled up multiple notebooks with the lessons he’s learned from Mack and the rest of the Louisville staff this season. Those notes will help him on his next journey, which is set to begin in just a couple of months.

For now, though, Keith Oddo is focused on being a part of history during his final few weeks as a college basketball player.

“It’s been a dream come true,” Oddo said earlier this week about his first and only season in The Ville. “I came here to win. In my four years at Richmond we had one winning season, so just to be on a team that is so talented and has a chance to go very deep in the tournament is great. We have national championship aspirations.”