IGNACIO - Micah Odoms walked confidently down the main hallway at Ignacio High School, just like he had so many times before.
But this time, Odoms headed to the school library on a postgraduate mission of sheer joy. The recent Ignacio High graduate returned to school to sign his National Letter of Intent to play basketball at Concordia University in Portland, Ore.
Surrounded by family, friends, coaches and school administrators, Odoms put his name on the line and put a big smile on everyone's face Tuesday afternoon.
He also etched his name in school history as the first Ignacio player in recent memory to earn a college basketball scholarship.
"It's a big step ... I'm nervous and anxious, too," Odoms said. "But, I'm excited about it."
The rangy, 6-5 All-San Juan Basin League selection said he was familiar with the university and the basketball program from when he lived in Portland early in high school.
"I went up over spring break. I worked out with the team ... lifted weights and played (scrimmages) ... and I held my own," Odoms said. "Those guys are really big ... strong. It was fun."
He said he's excited to join the program of coach Brad Barbarick, who is in his 16th season as the head coach at the private Christian school in Portland.
Odoms said he expects to play mostly on the wing, where he can use his size and shooting skills at the NAIA school.
Odoms led the record-setting 2008-09 Ignacio boys basketball team in scoring at 15.5 points per game. He was a close second in rebounding at 9.5 per game as the Bobcats charged all the way to the Class 2A State Tournament in Pueblo.
The Bobcats finished fourth at state, 23-3 overall.
Odoms led the Bobcats in scoring in his final game at state, a loss to Meeker. He also triggered Ignacio's comeback bid with a second-half sequence of three blocked shots, a long 3-pointer and a tough bank shot.
"He's such a great kid, and he really wanted to play basketball (in college)," said Ignacio head coach Chris Valdez.
"Plus, he's a great athlete. He's got a really nice floater ... and spin moves," Valdez said, reviewing his two-time all-conference pick.
"His slasher skills and his rebounding will help him at that level," Valdez said.
His ability to beat defenders - left or right - also will be critical at the college level," he said.
"And he'll get great coaching up there. That'll help his game a lot, too."
His mom, Latitia Taylor, and his stepdad, Greg Jones, were on hand to celebrate his signing this week.
"It's so great for him," Valdez said.
"His family up there (Portland) can watch him play for the next four years like his family here's been able to watch him play the last few years," Valdez said.
Micah Odoms' father, Dwayne Odoms, lives in Portland, close to Concordia. Dwayne Odoms is a former head girls basketball coach at Ignacio High School.
Valdez said the versatility Odoms showed in high school should translate to the college game.
"Now we'll get to follow him up there ... see how he's doing ... read about him in the papers up there," Valdez said.
The signing also marked a big step for the Ignacio program, Valdez said.
Currently, Timmy Velasquez from Ignacio is working his way through junior college basketball in Lamar as a walk-on.
Odoms, then, becomes the first Valdez player to earn a college basketball scholarship.
"Hopefully, next year we can have another one," Valdez said.
In the meantime, Odoms said he has a summer's worth of work to do before reporting to Concordia University.
"My defense ... has got to come up," Odoms said.
"I need to keep my game in shape ... and get stronger."