Troup County High School graduate looks to mentor youth in AAU program
Published 10:07 pm Friday, March 29, 2019
WEST POINT — Telvin Hodo knew that he wanted to do something that larger than him during his freshman year at Morehouse College.
A 2011 graduate of Troup County High School, Hodo helped out with a youth basketball team in Atlanta as a student at Morehouse because the school practiced at Morehouse’s gym.
He then heard stories about his 8-year-old nephew and his basketball team at the time.
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“My brother called me like, ‘man, you need to come down and see them,’” Hodo said. “If they stay together, they’ll have a state title team.”
Hearing about the promise of the youngsters in Troup County motivated Hodo, even more, assisting with the middle school in Atlanta.
“I was thinking to learn what I could, as quickly as possible, so I could get to my boys,” Hodo said. “I knew that if I got to my boys, then we could turn heads. I knew the talent that was around, I knew who could do what and all I was hearing was ‘state title, state title.’ Then I was like, ‘give them to me. I will make sure they get a state title.’”
Since that moment, Hodo transferred to the University of Georgia, where he graduated with a degree in mathematics in 2015.
This spring marks the launch of the West Point Kings travel team alongside 2013 Troup County High School graduate and West Point native Rentae Williams. The group of promising eight and nine-year-olds that his brother told him about are now eighth-graders.
While he said his ultimate goal on the court is to train the bunch into a state championship caliber team, his primary goal off the floor is a central point for every athlete that goes through the program.
“Yes, we want to play and win, but we also want to show you the college,” Hodo said. “We want to get your mind thinking along the lines of ‘if not basketball, college. If basketball, college.’”
So far, Hodo has taken the team to cities like Athens, Georgia and Greensboro, North Carolina. Athens is the home of the University of Georgia, while Greensboro hosts UNC-Greensboro and North Carolina A&T.
“I tell players all the time that the average NBA career, you might be lucky to play like LeBron [James] and be 35,” Hodo said. “Thirty-five, 40, Vince Carter, [who’s considered a] dinosaur. We’re looking at careers looking long, and careers lasting like Randolph Morris and Sebastian Telfair.”
Both Randolph Morris and Sebastian Telfair were highly-touted High School basketball recruits who were featured in various national magazines as prep school stars. Morris, now 33, played his last season in the NBA in 2010. Telfair, now 33, was last active in the NBA in the 2014-15 season.
“If you’re along the Sebastian Telfair line where you’re done by 30, the average lifespan is about 75. You’ve got 45 more years to go,” Hodo said. “You need to be able to make a conscious business decision even though you’re a millionaire so you don’t go broke. Even for LeBron and Vince Carter, you’ve still got 30 years. What are you going to do in that time span? Who are you going to help, what are you going to invest in? What kind of businesses are you going to run?”
Hodo also pointed to how all-time basketball great Shaquille O’Neal has a doctorate’s degree, and the famous 2001 day when Vince walked across the stage at his University of North Carolina graduation before playing in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Philadelphia 76ers as examples of athletes valuing education.
“Let’s get out of this mindset of ‘I have to go to the league,’” Hodo said. “What are you going to do after the league.”
This past season, he was the girls assistant basketball coach at Villa Rica High School in Georgia. During the day, he is a 10th-grade math teacher at Lithia Springs High School, and every Friday, he makes the hour-and-a-half drive down to West Point First United Methodists Church to lead the Kings’ practices.
Starting off as a new team, Hodo is welcoming all donations from the public to help fund the team’s uniforms and the trips to exposure tournaments nearby major universities. Hodo can be reached at on Facebook at “Telvin Hodo,” he can be called at 706-412-8637, and he can be emailed at email@example.com.
“I realize that being from here, people always say that there isn’t much for the youth to do,” Hodo said. “We’re giving the youth something positive to do during the summertime when they’re not in school. Please help us help them. We can write down everything you need as far as where the money is going, and how much everything is going to cost.”