By all accounts Rodney Bodden was a great prodigy in local basketball. The 16 year-old had the size, skill set and tenacity that could have taken him to great heights.
His untimely passing via heart failure may have saddened local hoops 13 years ago but now he has become a source of joy.
That is because many hoopsters had a great time in his honour over the weekend at Camana Bay.
The Arts and Recreation Center hosted the Rodney Bodden Memorial three-on-three basketball tournament last Saturday and Sunday.
Organizer Cory Thompson aimed to honour Rodney’s memory by hosting a fun tournament for a sport young Bodden loved.
All the positive vibes came through immediately with Saturday’s All-Star game that featured some of Cayman’s best hoops talent of today and yesteryear.
Some of the notable people who took part were current local hoops stars Collin Anglin, Gary ‘Butcher’ McLaughlin and Luigi Moxam.
Among the past greats who came out were Joel Jefferson, Shomari Scott and John Ebanks.
From there came the three-on-three action itself. Surprisingly the tournament turned out to be a half-day affair that started from around 12 noon and lasted until about 8pm.
The plan was for the tournament games to take place solely on the Cayman Islands Basketball Association Court off Eastern Avenue in George Town.
However the heavy rainfall that has been over Cayman of late altered those plans and shifted the entire Sunday event to Camana Bay.
Arguably the players were better off for it. The games were tense, shots went straight and most players seemed to have endless amounts of energy.
In particular the shift helped current local hoop stars like Kevin Maxwell and Kwei General keep their work-rate up.
Some 50 people came by throughout the day to catch the action. Among them were women’s hoops star Theresa Hamil (who also served as a referee) and Rodney Bodden’s mom Alecia Ebanks.
Eleven squads came out to compete under all sorts of colourful names but one side would stand tall above the rest.
By day’s end the Gaza All-stars would emerge as the tournament champions and claim the CI$800 cash prize for the second straight year.
The squad beat the Young Guns (who consisted of U19 hoops stars Tikko Moore, Brandon Glasgow, Larue Nixon and Oswald Prehay) in the final.
For their efforts Young Guns nabbed CI$600 cash. BigBoys came third and won CI$400.
Gaza is essentially the Wolves team from last year. Dwight O’Garro, Earl ‘Barbosa’ Allen, Paul Miller and Shawn Smith made up this year’s team.
Interestingly enough, all of the players are members of the Wolves basketball team. The Wolves won the national men’s championship this year defeating the Esso Blazers in the final.
For his hot shooting and stifling defense Shawn Smith was awarded tournament MVP.
Smith beamed about the award and the tournament on a whole.
‘I found it was easy to play in as it was easier on my body. Playing in Camana Bay on the whole is so much easier on the joints.
‘I was in the zone and my team came out with the mindset to win. Barbosa did a spectacular job on the boards, Paul did well on all fronts and Dwight came on late but gave us that extra push in the final.
‘I wasn’t aiming for the MVP award; I was just trying to carry the team to the win.’
The competition would prove to be an extra boon for a number of charities.
Part of the proceeds from the event went to the Cayman AIDS Foundation and sponsor Premier Valet donated $1000 to the Rodney Bodden Foundation.
In total the event saw some 19 sponsors.
Thompson was pleased that most of the players had a good time.
‘Things worked out really well, I can’t complain. It was a good turnout on each day and I’m looking forward to next year.
‘This will definitely be an annual event and hopefully Camana Bay can be used again.
‘The atmosphere there is so much better. Besides the people enjoyed playing indoors versus outside in the hot sun.’