‘Hot Rod’ documentary premieres in Charleston

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The Clay Center was a “Hot” place to be Wednesday evening, as the facility hosted the premiere of a documentary covering the life of a West Virginia basketball legend.

Around 600 people attended the screening of “Hot Rod,” a 92-minute film on Rod Hundley, the West Virginia University basketball star turned professional broadcaster for multiple organizations, most notably the Utah Jazz.

The film also goes into Hundley’s troubled upbringing in Charleston and his often limited role as a father.

“I didn’t know how rough his childhood was and how later in life, his family life wasn’t probably what we would imagine as a sort of a fairy tale kind of thing,” said Carrie Smith, of Charleston.

People left the Clay Center saying positives things about the film, which will air April 3 at 7 p.m. on AT&T SportsNet and multiple times on West Virginia Public Broadcasting beginning April 16.

Brady Campbell served as the West Virginia Mountaineer from 2006 to 2008. He said he appreciated how the film balanced Hundley’s accomplishments with his personal struggles.

“I didn’t know exactly the kind of demons he had, but I had some knowledge of his background growing up here in West Virginia,” the Charleston resident said. “It’s interesting to see what an integral part he was to the Jazz organization and what a focal point he was to the entire city with the Jazz, especially getting started.”

Mike Wallace, of Charleston, said as a West Virginia University alumnus, Hundley helped put the university and the state on the map.

“What a true ambassador to basketball and a true ambassador to the state,” he said.

A Morgantown premiere of “Hot Rod” will be held Friday at the Metropolitan Theatre at 7 p.m.

Pikewood Creative, the film’s production company, and West Virginia MetroNews are subsidiaries of West Virginia Radio Corporation.

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