Eastwood sharp-shooting senior guard Ben Bode transitioned from being a spot-up shooter to the team’s top offensive weapon in his final season. He averaged 24 points and 10 rebounds despite going up against defenses designed to stop him after opening the season with four straight 30-point games.
Last year, Bode was a second team All-Metro selection and improved all aspects of his game to be the player his team needed. He was named an AISA All-Star selection this season and will attend Auburn University in the fall.
What was the biggest difference between your game last year and this year?
“I think going to the rim a little more. Especially last year, I was just a set up shooter. I just sat on the wing and shot 3s. But this year, with more of the offensive load, I couldn’t just shoot 3s. It was still my main weapon, but I had to get to the rim and get fouls and get layups. That was the biggest thing I worked on.”
After your hot start to the season, what challenges did you face against defenses designed to stop you?
“Probably about five games into the season, we never saw a zone anymore, which is what we were really geared for. After a little while, we saw box-and-ones for the rest of the season. They were playing a box-and-one on me and that was hard. We had to develop a whole new offense. My scoring fell off for a little while in the season, but we were able to work it out.”
Is there a professional player you like to model your game after?
“Kevin Durant. He’s a taller guard who shoots 3s well, but he’s not incredibly physical going to the rim, and that’s kind of my style.
“I like the way he shoots from anyone on the court. My coach told me I could shoot as long as I felt I was in range.”
How fun was it to have the green light to shoot from anywhere?
“This year was the first time (I had the green light), and I pulled some deep ones. Some of them didn’t go as well as others, but it was still fun to shoot them.”
What was your most memorable moment from the season?
“Probably playing Coosa Valley in the first round of the region tournament, and one of our best players went down. So my brother (Allen), and I ended up running pick-and-roll for three quarters, and it was virtually unstoppable. I had like 35 points, and he ended up with somewhere near 20, so that was a lot of fun to have me and him doing that. And that’s what got us into the state tournament, so that was really fun.”
What’s next for you?
“I’m going to Auburn just for academics. I may try out for the team just for fun. But I’m really focusing on school. I may some intramural or something.
“Right now, I’m looking at something in business, then looking at getting my MBA in finance after that. I haven’t ruled out the possibility of going to medical school either…My brother and two sisters go there. I go up to games a lot during the season. It’s where I’ve wanted to go for a while.”