Jimmy Bell Trucking Thru Tragedy
Jimmy "Big Dawg" Bell first arrived in the Valley in August of last year, leaving Saginaw, Michigan as an overweight 2-sport standout that had a lot of things to figure out on the hardwood. He would come out West to play basketball and attend classes at Bella Vista Prep in Scottsdale, Arizona to have an opportunity to work on his game and get his body right. He grew up with football as his first passion and did not start playing basketball until his freshman year of high school.
However, after growing up to 6-foot-11 he suffered a bad knee injury and had simply outgrown the sport. He made the decision to make this basketball thing his way out. The "Big Dawg" has lost somewhere around 100 pounds in six months with an extreme amount of discipline. He would commit himself to a diet that would slim him up and to all different types of cardio like hiking, springs, biking and basketball workouts. He has transformed himself and his game into a 6-foot-11, 280-pound high-major big man recruit with offers from Iowa State, Texas Tech, Tulsa, Southern Utah, Oakland and UNLV with multiple schools showing heavy interest as of late.
He had a great first season in the Desert, averaging 15 points and 12 rebounds for Head Coach Kyle Weaver, playing a national schedule against some of the nations top prep school talent.
Assistant Coach and mentor, Tyler Dwyer, is who spends a lot of time with Bell. Rather it's working out with him or just talking to him on a personal level to help him through some of the recent heartaches he has had to deal with as of late. While his game has grown drastically since his arrival to our state and basketball community, it is his mental toughness, heart and courage that has taken the most work to grow and maintain.
In the last few months he has lost his Grandmother, Aunt and a close cousin. Last night, tragedy would strike again for Jimmy, as he would lose his father to a heart attack just one day after his 60th birthday.
It is his ability to keep working through tragedy. To want something more and better for himself and the people he cherishes that have not yet departed. He is a quiet kid that does not need very many words to express himself. His facial expressions and body language will tell you more of a story than anything he will say. If you are a fan of a feel-good success story, this may be the kid you want to get behind and cheer for. If you are a fan of focus and mental strength. A fan of hard work and striving to create the best opportunities for yourself, this is it!
Bell's size is the first thing you notice on the court. His size, strength and toughness inside mixed with his nice outside shooting touch. If you are a basketball person, you will notice his lack of mobility and he will not be mistaken for having light feet. However, with how much he improves himself and his game everyday and how far he has come already, can you doubt that he won't eventually figure those aspects of his game as well?!
I have seen these stories before. I have seen kids with his amount of will and heart before. So let me give you some sound advice from yours truly, DO NOT BET AGAINST JIMMY BELL!
Despite his father's death, Bell will play his first tournament with the Oakland Soldiers in the 1st Session of the EYBL in Dallas this weekend. He has lost 3 members of his family during his Prep School season. He has played 3 games shortly after all 3 of those deaths. In every one, he has responded to the heartache with great performances on the basketball court and feels like in those games his loved one's are looking over him to guide him to a great performance to help his team win.
He is relying on a similar inspiration and look-out from his father this weekend.
On behalf of Relentless Athletes, we are praying for you and your family "Big Dawg" and will be cheering for you this weekend in Dallas.