Wood turns tragedy into triumph

CLEVELAND, Tenn. (WDEF) — Three years ago, Jacobi Wood’s grandfather yelled from the stands begging for his then freshman grandson to be taken out of the game. Why? Wood had 45 points, and his grandfather would have to pay him some money if he hit 50.

It didn’t happen that night. However, this year, Wood already has **two** games north of 50 points.

Out of tragedy comes Wood’s greatest motivation, elevating him to an even higher level for Cleveland basketball.

Rondazz Jamarr Mee, Junior died in the Ocoee River in May, just weeks before his 26th birthday. However, J’s legacy lives on through his younger brother Jacobi Wood.

“He played basketball. He’s the one that taught me how to play. It’s been the main thing that’s motivated me, not just on the court but even so off the court. Just to be a better person and make him proud,” Wood said.

“I’ve never seen his this motivated, ever,” Coach Reggie Tucker said. “Since I’ve known Jacobi, he can motivate himself. But now it’s just put more fuel to the fire.”

“It’s a big change to be honest,” teammate Mo Schrimo said. “He was always good. He was always go hard, if you know what I mean. But it’s just like he wants to like, really make it for his brother.”

You can see that change in the stat book. Wood is averaging 29 points a game. He’s already etched himself in the Cleveland record books with more than 13-hundred career points.

“He’s unreal, to be honest. He’s like, the hardest player I’ve played against,” Schrimo said.

“He’s actually just took it to a whole other level. And not only motivating himself, but motivating the team,” Tucker said. “He competes every day in practice. His attitude and effort has been phenomenal, and it’s carried over to our team.”

“They’ve been so supportive,” Wood said. “My team, all the coaching staff, even the girls team, they all just help me with anything that I need and all my family, too.”

“Our team had rallied around Jacobi since day one, man,” Tucker said. “That’s one thing I love about this team. They say, ‘1-2-3 Family.’ It’s on the front of our locker room door. Like, it means something. It means something to those guys. It’s not just words.”

Wood’s hard work on the hard wood — and his 3.85 GPA — earned him a spot on the Belmont basketball team next year.

“I’ve coached a lot of Division I kids, and he’s one of the special ones that just loves to be in the gym, loves to make his teammates better,” Tucker said.

“For my brother, just to make him proud, and do all I can to make him proud,” Wood said.

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