Bodewig enjoying Rocky Top League, looking forward to Scots’ next season
By Gabriel Garcia | (firstname.lastname@example.org)
KNOXVILLE — Joey Bodewig feels more prepared for his second summer playing in the Rocky Top Basketball League.
The experience playing on the same court with East Tennessee’s best basketball talent — including former players from the University of Tennessee and other area Division I programs — is also preparing Maryville College’s rising sophomore post for a much heavier load as the Scots transition to the USA South Athletic Conference.
“These guys are bigger and faster than what we play usually, so it’s good that I’m learning, too, playing here,” said Bodewig, who scored four points for the Knoxville News Sentinel team Wednesday in a 120-111 win over Rice Buick GMC. “It’s going to help me, for sure.
“It’s been great fun so far. I played last year but this year I feel a little bit more prepared for it, so it’s going to be a lot more fun, for sure. I feel like I can make more of an impact.”
The 6-foot-8 former Knoxville Catholic standout has already shown flashes his freshman season for coach Randy Lambert’s team. He made two blocks in the closing seconds of the Great South Athletic Conference tournament title game against LaGrange this February to preserve the Scots’ 75-73 win and claim to the crown.
Bodewig averaged 20 minutes per game his freshman season, netting 6.4 points and 4.9 rebounds per game and 28 blocks on the season. Now, with the graduation of Maverick Willett, Bodewig already looks forward to stepping up in his place as the Scots’ foundation inside.
“I’m so excited for next year, you have no idea,” Bodewig said. “Ever since the season ended last year. I took a two-week break, then went right back into it. I’m working hard still, so next year is going to be good for sure.”
Bodewig already has some experience with a heavier load, starting in place of Willett for a few games last season when the senior sprained his ankle.
“I had to step up and start and played big minutes,” said Bodewig, who also shot 47 percent from the field last season. “And I love doing that, so I’m ready. I’m definitely prepared for that next year.”
Along with Bodewig’s heavier burden on the court will come a role as mentor for an incoming freshman backup post, as Willett had been for MC’s rising sophomore.
“My back-up to be, he’s going to be a freshman, too,” Bodewig said. “Maverick played a great role with me, taught me everything. He was a great leader and a great friend on the team, so I want to do the same for the next freshman that’s in line.”
But until then, Bodewig will get all the experience he can going up-and-down the court against some of East Tennessee’s best hoops players in a Bearden High School gymnasium that, as a former player for a District 4-AAA rival, he is very familiar with.
“It’s exactly the same. It’s always fun to play in,” Bodewig said of the Bearden gym. “And (Bulldogs alum Spencer Peake) is with me at Maryville, so it’s fun to come and play in his old gym, too.”