They called him “Big Cat” from Upper Tract.
But this gentle 6-foot-9, 250-pound giant named Jeremy Bodkin still resides in Morgantown and is remembered as an outstanding center on West Virginia University’s men’s basketball teams from 1990-93.
He had a huge hand in helping the Mountaineers to records of 16-12, 17-14, 20-12 and 17-12 under the guidance of coach Gale Catlett. Bodkin was elected a team captain as a senior.
Three of those four teams played in postseason — one in the NCAA Tournament and two in the National Invitation Tournament.
Bodkin, who was born in Harrisonburg, Va., grew up in Pendleton County and is a graduate of Franklin High School. He played football, basketball and baseball there.
“I really enjoyed playing basketball for Coach Catlett very much,” Bodkin said recently. “It was a great time of my life.”
He certainly was a very fine player for WVU.
Bodkin recalled, “It was a challenge playing center. I played against some guys who were taller, heavier and stronger than I was at times.
“Obviously, everyone likes to score points. But I also enjoyed rebounding. In Coach Catlett’s offense, it was my job mainly to pass the ball, set screens for others and rebound the ball.
“I just did what the coach told me to do because I wanted to play (as much as possible).”
During his four years at WVU, he appeared in 101 games with only 50 starts and averaged playing 17.4 minutes per game and 5.8 points per game for his career. He made 223 field goals in 467 attempts (47.8 percent), and 135 of 190 free throws (71.1 percent) for a total of 581 points.
Bodkin, who admits that his scoring slipped because other needs were greater, also logged 132 offensive rebounds and 361 total rebounds.
Other statistics included 72 assists, 68 steals and 59 blocked shots.
Bodkin graduated in 1993 with a bachelor’s degree in business. He has been selling ambulances and some trucks in Morgantown for the past 11 years.
He and his wife Alicia have been married for 20 years and still live in Morgantown. They have a daughter Jordan and a son Dakota, who just graduated from University High.
Like his father, he played football, basketball and baseball as a schoolboy. Dakota is thinking about playing college baseball in one of the state’s institutions.
The youngster is about 6-foot-4 and has done very well as an outfielder.
He played forward in basketball.
They called him “Big Cat” from Upper Tract.
COLUMN: Extend summer practices without over-extending athletes
Last week we told you about a proposal that would extend the summer practice period for West Virginia high schools.
It’s already cleared the West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission Board of Control. Now it’s up to the West Virginia Board of Education to decide if the current three-week window should be expanded by five weeks.
Bussie looks forward to WNBA
On Tuesday, the weather turned cold, the wind blew and amongst the raindrops that fell a few snowflakes fluttered quietly to Earth.
It was as if it was a celebration of Asya Bussie being drafted on Monday night by the Minnesota Lynx, champions of the WNBA, with the third selection of the second round, the 15th overall pick of the draft.
HERTZEL COLUMN: Jackie Robinson’s impact extends beyond baseball
It is Jackie Robinson Day as I sit here writing this today, and I feel as though I am doing it in a world gone mad.
Every player in Major League Baseball wore No. 42 on Tuesday in honor of Jackie Robinson, the man who took racism’s best shot and integrated the game that was known then as the National Pastime even though it was as white a Ku Klux Klan robe.
Pirates finish off suspended game, fall in nightcap
Mike Leake doubled and hit a two-run homer Tuesday night, ending Gerrit Cole’s winning streak and leading the Cincinnati Reds to a 7-5 victory over the Pittsburgh Pirates that completed two days full of homers and delays.
WVU’s Harlee named Big 12 Scholar-Athlete
The Big 12 Conference announced its Scholar-Athlete of the Year recipients for the 2014 winter sport season, and West Virginia University senior Jess Harlee earns the honor for women’s basketball.
Harlee was selected as the award winner based on a vote of each respective sport’s head coaching group, with coaches not permitted to vote for their own student-athletes.
East can’t overcome No. 7 Lincoln, falls, 4-0
Thunder clouds weren’t the only thing looming over the East Fairmont (6-6) softball team Monday when the Lady Bees hosed No. 7 Lincoln. Joining the ominous clouds was a sense of urgency for energy that never showed up as Lincoln was able to shut out East Fairmont, 4-0.
Gyorko, Padres agree to extension
Jedd Gyorko, who hasn’t hit much of anything with a .178 start on this season, hit the jackpot on Monday, signing a six-year contract extension with the San Diego Padres for $35 million with a one-year club option at $13 million.
HERTZEL COLUMN- Spring game showed defense has improved
From Dana Holgorsen’s viewpoint, which was standing right behind the offense, West Virginia’s Gold-Blue Spring Game on Saturday was a rousing success for it showed very little of what the Mountaineers will be in this coming season, probably not even showcasing the man who will direct the offense in the quarterback position.
WVU signs guard; Adrian arrested for DUI
There was something good and something bad for West Virginia men’s basketball coach Bob Huggins this past weekend as Kansas junior college player Tarik Phillip committed to play for the Mountaineers but rising sophomore Nathan Adrian was charged with Under 21 DUI after he was stopped at 1:20 a.m. Sunday for an expired registration sticker.
FURFARI COLUMN- Most plays good, some not so good in Gold-Blue scrimmage
There appeared to be a fine mixture of plays, most good with some not so good, in last Saturday’s West Virginia University’s Gold-Blue football scrimmage.
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