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Snapshot: Hoops court in Rwanda dedicated to Joey Glynn

4/9/2014

Locally, the impact from the sudden death last summer of former Bentley University basketball player Joey Glynn was seismic. Outpouring was immediate and heavy, both from Glynn's home town of Abington and his high school alma mater, Cardinal Spellman, which devoted its season to him as they captured the program's first Division 3 boys basketball state championship since 1984 last month.

Now, Glynn's influence has been brought halfway across the world. Former Bentley player Kevin Kettl is currently serving an 11-month sabbatical in Rwanda, part of a grant with Shooting Touch, Inc., and built a basketball court in Glynn's honor in the rural town of Nyamirama:

(Photo courtesy of Shooting Touch)

Shooting Touch founder Justin Kittredge passes along the following press release on Kettl's construction of "Joey Glynn Court":

Although they never played a single minute together at Bentley University, Kevin Kettl still feels a strong connection to the late Joey Glynn, the former Bentley basketball player who tragically passed away during a recreation league game in Watertown in June 2013.

The connection and impression that Glynn gave was so strong, Kettl – a Bentley student-athlete who graduated in 2012 -- decided to name an outdoor court that he constructed in rural Rwanda, "Joey Glynn Court.”

Kettle says he knew Glynn for only a short time, but had a great deal of respect for him, and was deeply saddened by his death

"Although Joey started playing at Bentley after I had graduated, I still played pick-up ball with him, and you could just tell he was a special kid from the get-go," said Kettl. "He was tough, he never got out-worked, and he was humble at the same time -- and I really admired him for that.”

Kettl is one of two local student-athletes who were awarded Sabbatical Grants by Boston based non-profit Shooting Touch, Inc. to work for 11 months with underserved youths in Rwanda. The other grantee is Stonehill College basketball star and graduate Priscilla Dodoo.

Since October 2013, Kettl and Dodoo have coordinated the construction or renovation of 4 basketball courts, mobilized new youth basketball teams and leagues, held basketball clinics, and provided health and youth-development services to over 400 underserved young people in Rwanda.

The all-new Joey Glynn Court is located in Nyamirama, a rural village in the Eastern Province of Rwanda. It is the first known basketball court in the region and introduces the sport to youths who have never picked up a ball.

"Memorializing Joey in this way is really the least I could do," said Kettl. "Everything that Joey stood for is what we aim to teach at our basketball clinics. I hope that someday, this court will be filled with a bunch of Joey Glynns.”

Glynn, a Brockton native, graduated from Cardinal Spellman High School. He then went on to Bentley, and competed 1 year with the Falcons.

Kettl and Dodoo began their work in Rwanda in October 2013. Kettl graduated from Bentley in 2012 with a B.S. in Marketing. Dodoo, a Worcester native, graduated from Stonehill in 2012 with a B.A. in International Studies.

Shooting Touch is a Boston based basketball and youth-development organization that runs and sponsors tournaments and clinics locally. The organization’s non-profit arm, The Shooting Touch Sabbatical Program, known as the "Basketball Peace Corps", awards grants for college graduates on an annual basis to work at creating basketball and youth-development programs in developing nations.

The organization launched its five-year initiative in Rwanda in 2012, with the goal of creating a nation-wide youth league, while improving the lives of its players by teaching the ideals of gender equality, health and fitness, HIV/AIDS and malaria prevention, education and leadership skills. Shooting Touch grantees also have developed and delivered service programs in Cape Verde, Senegal, Brazil, Zimbabwe, and South Africa. Over 3,000 youths around the world come through Shooting Touch’s programs each year.

Bentley's Hall of Fame Coach, Barbara Stevens is a member Shooting Touch’s Board of Directors.