2018 Robert Woodard Talks MSU Visit

Columbus (MS) High School/AAU DaHouse class of 2018 shooting guard/small forward Robert Woodard, Jr. talks about visiting Mississippi State as well as making the 16U USA National team.

  • Name: Robert Woodard, Jr.
  • Classification: 2018
  • High School: Columbus (MS) High School
  • AAU Team: DaHouse
  • Position: Shooting Guard/Small Forward
  • HT: 6-foot-5 WT: 215
  • Scout.com Ranking: NR
  • Schools of Interest: Mississippi State (offer), Tennessee (offer), Notre Dame, Vanderbilt, Wake Forest

  • You visited Mississippi State this past Saturday. What are your thoughts about the visit?
    "I really liked the visit because it was a great time to go. There were some teams playing (in the MSU team camp). Coach (Howland) broke some things down and told me that he was very interested in me."

    Had you met Coach Howland before?
    "No, that was the first time to meet him."

    What are your thoughts about him now that you had the chance to get to know him?
    "He is a very nice guy and he knows the game well. He knows what it takes to help you be a good guard and forward."

    Did you know much about him going into the visit?
    "I knew that he was very good at teaching guards passing, shooting, those kind of things. I knew he was really good with the guard play."

    Recruiting-wise, what are your thoughts about Mississippi State now that you had the chance to visit with Ben Howland?
    "I think I would fit in well because they really hone in on your guard skills."

    Did your dad go on the visit with you?
    "Yes sir, he did."

    What did he think about Coach Howland?
    "I think he liked him and liked his style of coaching because it was very similar to what my dad teaches me."

    You made the USA 16U National team. What are your thoughts about making that team?
    "It was an honor just to be invited to try out for the team and fly out to Colorado Springs and play against all that talent from across the country. Then to find out that I made the 12-man traveling team, it was the best experience to fly to Argentina and play for my country and then bring the Gold home."

    Did you have an idea that you were going to make the team?
    "I had a feeling that I was but you just never know because that was a lot of talent in one gym. It was just one of those wait and see moments."

    Do you remember that moment when you learned you had made the team? If so, what went through your mind the second you heard your name?
    "Yes sir. The first time they called names (which was the first cut) they did them in order of the first letter of your last name. I was the last one called so I was very nervous. The second time they called names. I told myself to be ready for your name to be called last. When they started calling names I was waiting on my name, then they just called it out of nowhere in the middle of the process. It didn't hit me at the moment. Then I thought about it and realized they had called my name. I covered my mouth in disbelief. After that it was amazing."

    Who did you call first to let them know you made the team?
    "I called my dad first. He was calm as usual. He was the same as he always is. But on the inside I knew he was very proud. He told me to keep working because the job wasn't done yet. Then, when I called my mom she started crying as soon as I got it out. It made me feel the same, I was still in disbelief but I was proud of myself. I was actually trying to keep her from crying at the time."

    You and your team then went to Argentina and won the Gold medal. How do you feel you did personally?
    "I did pretty darn good. It was good my way. I did everything I could to help the team. From the second I got on the court I played as hard as I possibly could to help us get the win."

    How did trying out for the team, then playing against some of the best talent in the world help your overall game?
    "It really helped me out a lot because I judged myself on how I was before I left then, how I was when I was in Colorado and Argentina and how I was when I got back home. There was a very big difference because it brought out your toughness and physicality against everyone else."

    You made a team that consisted of the top 12 players in your age range in the United States. That team won a gold medal against some of the top players in the world. Where do you go from here?
    "Hopefully, I will make the team again and travel to Venezuela or Mexico with them. But right now I want to focus on helping my (high school) team win the state championship this year. And also to improve my game. I know this season will be a very tough season, a very tough season."

    Why do you say it will be a very tough season?
    "Considering that I played on the USA team my mindset is different. I have to be able to score at any time, and I will have to expect anything out of the defense that I will play against. I will probably get double teamed every game or box in one, or something like that. I just don't know what to expect. I will have to prepare myself for anything."

    Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by emailing swindoll@genespage.com.

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