- Lyla Kline
Mezie Offurum’s Journey to the Mount
You might know him as the 6’8’’ student you see walking around campus in patriot or the library. If you have not seen him walking around campus, you most likely have seen him on the Mount’s basketball Instagram, @mounthoops. It is not hard to miss, Mezie Offurum when you see you see him walking around campus. Mount junior and basketball player, Mezie Offurum is one of 11 players who have remained on the basketball team during the 2020-2021 athletic year. He plays as number 13 on the team and plays a range of positions. Offurum is new to the Mount and just transferred last year from George Washington University.
Offurum got recruited to Mount St. Mary’s in March of 2020. His former coach at George Washington was former Mount coach, Jamion Christian. Jamion Christian was an alumnus of the Mount and coached the Mount Basketball team when they made it to March Madness in 2017. He recommended Offurum look in to transferring here because the Mount is a smaller school which would give Offurum more of an opportunity to play and be in the spotlight. COVID was a catalyst for Offurum’s interest to transfer. “After our season was abruptly ended by the scare of COVID, I quickly entered my name into the transfer portal because I did not receive much playing time that year” Offurum explained. Offurum certainly was able to gain much more playing time this year, regardless of COVID.
On March 9 Mount St. Mary’s basketball team won their game against Bryant. The team’s road to March Madness, was not an overnight success, however. The training before games was quite intense. Offurum explained that his training leading up to the games consisted of lots of practice. He visualizes himself playing a game before he goes and plays. His practice surely pays off. Offurum is most known for his series of dunks at both the NEC conference and NCAA tournament. Bleacher Report Hoops (@br_hoops) posted a video on Instagram of Offurum doing one of his dunks. The account has 1.4 million followers, and the post received 14,097 likes. Offurum’s dunk at the NEC conference was ranked as number two on Sports Center top 10. Later, at the NCAA finals his dunk was a top dunk of the first round.
The players must stick to a diet and make sure to hydrate before games. This preparation interfered with the extra safety precautions that had to be taken to allow the men to travel. The men were required to not take off their masks on the bus and plane. This meant they could not eat or hydrate while on either form of transportation.
At both games, Offurum says that “Covid put a ceiling on the potential of fun.” When they stayed at the hotel, they were required to stay in their room alone and quarantine.
The Men’s team has not gotten this far in March Madness since they won the NEC conference title back in 2017. "It was extremely exciting to be able to participate in March Madness," Offurum explained. "This event is viewed as a once in a lifetime opportunity, and to have the opportunity to make it there during such a chaotic and strange season made the feat feel much better.” He says it was a “bittersweet experience” because the protocols interfered with the excitement. Even still, Offurum was able to have over 30 family members come to cheer him on. His family members came near and far from states like Arkansas, Alabama, Kentucky, and Michigan. Offurum described his family being their as “awesome and memorable.”
Losing a game in a round of the tournament will not stop Offurum and his motivation. Offurum has already had 4 career starts during his freshman and sophomore year at George Washington University. He continues to gain attention not just on Mount St. Mary’s campus, but on a national level. His team will carry the momentum from this season to the next one. Hopefully, by next season, COVID will be a little more under control. We are all anticipating the time when we can watch athletic games in person again.