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Dee Oldham
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Editor's note: This is the fourth in a series of weekly features profiling newcomers on the UTC men's basketball team, leading up to the Nov. 6 season opener against Covenant.

Dee Oldham is just a basketball player.

Not a shooter. Not a rebounder. Not a defensive player.

A basketball player.

He's also been through quite a ride through his college career.

In Oldham's four years of college basketball, the 6-foot-4 senior guard for the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga has worked under four head coaches. He signed with UT-Martin and played two seasons under head coach Jason James, who was fired after the 2013-14 season. James was replaced by Heath Schroyer, but a change in the system caused Oldham to look for a new school.

He sent an email to Will Wade, UTC's coach at the time, and Wade took a chance on him and brought him in midseason. When Wade left the Mocs for Virginia Commonwealth after last season, Matt McCall was brought in.

Oldham averaged six points and three rebounds in his career with the Skyhawks, with an assist-to-turnover ratio of nearly 2-to-1. He averaged 9.1 points as a sophomore and tied a UT-Martin record with 27 consecutive made free throws.

"My journey has been one for the ages," Oldham said. "Where it's at now is not how it was pictured in the beginning, but I guess that's almost anything because you don't foreshadow your future. But it's been a good one; I wouldn't trade it for anything.

"It's been a good journey."

Due to NCAA rules, Oldham currently has one semester of eligibility. UTC is working to get him eligible for the full 2015-16 season, but the NCAA has not revealed a decision. It hasn't bothered him, though, as he's fit right in with the Mocs from day one.

He hit three 3-pointers in the team's open scrimmage Sunday and provides a variety of assets: his shooting prowess, his ability to defend, his decision-making on the court. He'll have a chance to earn minutes at both guard positions and well as playing some forward.

"I'm ready to step in and do what the team needs," he said, "whatever it is at the moment I'm in the game. I like being able to do something in all aspects."

McCall was quickly impressed with Oldham's basketball IQ and feel for the game.

"In our system, he knows the right play and right read to make," McCall said. "We've got to continue to work with him on pushing himself through fatigue, but he hasn't been in a game in a year in a half, so he's working through some things, but he's making some strides and we're excited about him."

The hope is that Oldham is ready to play in the exhibition game against Covenant on Nov. 6. Should he still have to sit out, he'll be eligible to play after the first semester, with the first game after final exams scheduled for Dec. 12. Whenever that time comes, he plans to be ready.

"The best is yet to come," he said.

Contact Gene Henley at ghenley@timesfreepress.com. Follow him at twitter.com/genehenleytfp.

 

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