This weekend, Missouri will host a much-needed big man for an official visit, in 6’8” 225-pound junior-college power forward prospect Russell Woods of John A. Logan Community College in Carterville (IL).
Woods is a lengthy and athletic lefty from Chicago (IL), where he finished up his high school basketball career at Simeon Career Academy, a program where former Missouri player Marlo Finner was an assistant coach. Woods also played AAU basketball for the Chicago-based Mac Irvin Fire, which was founded by former Missouri and NBA player Byron Irving’s father and is coached by Irving’s brother.
So it’s not entirely surprising that Woods has a positive view of Missouri Basketball. He told ShowMeMizzou.com that he first met Missouri Head Coach Kim Anderson and Missouri Assistant Coach Brad Loos a “couple of months ago”.
John A. Logan Head Coach Kyle Smithpeters told ShowMeMizzou.com regarding Woods and his teammate Martavian Payne, who is also visiting Missouri this weekend, that “They really like Missouri. They really like Coach Anderson. Coach Loos has done a great job of recruiting them. Both kids have had a lot of (recruiting) traffic and a lot of really really good institutions and programs come through wanting their services.”
Coach Smithpeters appears to have a high opinion of the Missouri coaching staff.
“Coach Anderson and Coach Loos are two of the best people in the business,” said Coach Smithpeters. “They’ve done a great job of recruiting them and battling off some very, very good schools trying to recruit both Martavian and Russell………………………………………….. What I would say to anyone in reference, you know, obviously, character , two of the best around. I’ve been fortunate enough to know Coach Loos for a while, and Coach Anderson more recently. They have done a very good job of recruiting (Woods and Payne) and they’ve put themselves in a position to beat out several schools that were in the NCAA Tournament this year to get them on campus. They’ve put in work early and often and have done a very good job of recruiting them.”
Coach Smithpeters expressed appreciation for the new direction of the Missouri Basketball Program under Coach Anderson.
“Kim is going to go about it in a way that is going to allow success to be sustained for a long period of time,” said Coach Smithpeters. “You can’t have instant gratification with a person coming into a situation that has not had the culture the way it needs to be.”
This week, Woods told ShowMeMizzou.com that he has narrowed his list of schools to Missouri and Kansas State, the latter of which he intends to visit next week following his visit to Missouri this weekend.
Woods also told ShowMeMizzou.com that there’s a possibility that he won’t take the visit to Kansas State.
“There’s a possibility,” explained Woods. “I have a strong possibility that I might (choose) Mizzou. I like the program, and I like Coach Anderson and Coach Loos………………………………………. It depends on everything that goes on this weekend. If I feel comfortable with (Missouri), then I won’t have to take that other visit.”
Woods is a power forward who can, and is willing to, play center. He explained that he knows he’s going to be comfortable with the Missouri coaches, and he’s watched Missouri play on television, but he wants to see how well he meshes with the Missouri players.
“I want to go into a program where I can help win games, and be a part of it,” explained Woods. “Missouri’s a real good opportunity……………………………….. I’m definitely excited about this Missouri visit! It’s probably one of the visits I’ve wanted for a long time, since I was in high school.”