Woodbury not unnoticed by Felton

ATHENS – Georgia wasn't the only team to recruit freshman Terrance Woodbury. Nevada, Clemson and Penn State were interested, too.

"They were like, ‘We like you,'" Woodbury said.

"I loved him," Bulldogs coach Dennis Felton said.

That was a critical difference for Woodbury, who one year ago was leaning toward reclassifying in order to play another year of high school basketball, he and Felton said.

While Nevada, Clemson and Penn State never offered Woodbury a scholarship, Felton made an offer the first day he ever saw the 6-foot-6 guard play live or on tape. Georgia got into the recruiting race for Woodbury with a combination of hard work and good fortune.

Assistant coach Desmond Oliver was on a recruiting trip to look at another player near Woodbury's Virginia Beach, Va., home and had some free time.

"We try to get as much done while we're out as we can," Felton said. "(Oliver) just dropped in during some time he had, and he loved him. He called me right away. He said, ‘Nobody else thinks as much of him as I do, but I think he's tremendous. I think you need to get down here as fast as possible.'"

At the time, Woodbury was practicing with Coastal Christian Academy, his third high school but just the second at which he played basketball. His plan was to follow his coach to Cornerstone Christian Academy in Texas. He had averaged 16.8 points per game in his final prep season, but he and his father felt he would draw more recruiting attention with one more year of prep basketball, Woodbury said.

"I told him I didn't think he needed to," Felton said.

It was a good call by Felton, who might have lost out on Woodbury by allowing him to gain more exposure. Woodbury started two of his first three games with the Bulldogs before missing 10 straight due to a sprained knee. He returned to the court last week and got back in the starting lineup Saturday versus South Carolina.

He had only two points against the Gamecocks and is averaging fewer than 10 per game, but he may be the future for the Bulldogs, who have thirsted for two years for an athletic wing player who can create his own shot and also defend bigger players.

"He's clearly the most versatile player on our team," Felton said.

Terrance Woodbury escaped notice for two reasons, Felton said. During the critically important AAU season, he played with the Boo Williams team, which had several stars who outshone him. Also, in high school, Woodbury had to play power forward and center, which didn't allow him to showcase his athleticism.

"It's hard to get excited about a 6-foot-6, 190-pound guy who plays inside," Felton said.

Felton had no problem, though, getting excited when he imagined Woodbury making plays from a wing position.

"He was like, ‘We want you. You have everything we want in a player,'" Woodbury said. "I was like, ‘Are you serious?'

"They were the most consistent with the recruiting, and I felt like it was a good program that needed some help."

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