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’s 1990-91-92-93 men’s basketball teams.
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 I could).”
During his four years at WVU, he appeared in 101 games with only 50 starts and averaged playing 17.4 minutes per game. He made 223 field goals in 407 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 308 defensive 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 last 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.
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