Finding The Best Fit

Ray Jackson Rising Stars head coach Kevin Robinson has been a mentor for Dominic Woodson for several years, and now he is helping Woodson with his college recruitment.

Ray Jackson Rising Stars head coach Kevin Robinson has been a mentor for Dominic Woodson for several years, and now he is helping Woodson with his college recruitment.

"When Dominic started working out with me the only thing I wanted to do was make sure he stayed on the right path," said Robinson. "He was 6'4 in the eighth grade... no one knew he was going to grow to be 6'10. No one knew the basketball aspect would get this big so everything he is going through now I'm trying to learn on the run to help him be better prepared for it.

"But, I believe because I was there before all of this, that is why our relationship is so strong. It is one of the things that makes Dominic loyal too me. He often says, 'Coach Kevin, no one wanted to deal with me but you. At that point, no one cared.' So with all of this I'm going to try and help Dominic make the best decision for himself, both on the court and academically."

Woodson has already had to make a few tough choices. Prior to his junior year he decided to attend Saxtons River (Vt.) Vermont Academy, and while he excelled on the court he initially struggled with adjusting to the academic side of prep school.

This is after Woodson elected to transfer to Huntington Prep for his senior season, a decision that Robinson believes will help him academically and athletically.

"Before he went to prep school the grades were fine," said Robinson. "He went up to Vermont and it was just an adjustment for him... being away from home for the first time and it was challenging academically, so he did struggle.

"But, he is at Huntington Prep now and it is a great fit for him. He's getting back on track with his academics, and on the court there are so many positives. In Vermont he was a lot of times the biggest guy on the floor, but now in practices he has guys all around him just as big. They play a great schedule and I think it's always humbling when you can always play with great players and he gets to do that with Andrew Wiggins."

Rated a four-star recruit and the No. 3 center in the 2013 class by, Woodson turned it on this summer on the AAU circuit.

"He blossomed over the summer on the circuit," Robinson stated. "Being able to play in the Nike EYBL showed that he can compete against the kids on the highest level.

"For me, one of the things about him I like is he wants to find the open man out of the post. He works hard on the block and if you cut he is a great passer for his size. Plus, I like his passion. That's one of the things coaches say they like about him is how hard he plays and how passionate he is about the game."

Woodson has offers from programs like NC State, UConn, Oklahoma, Baylor, Rhode Island, Texas A&M, and Cincinnati, and the plan for him right now is to take three official visits. The first trip is set for this weekend when he will be in Raleigh checking out NC State.

"We are going first to NC State for their Midnight Madness," said Robinson. "After that I think is probably Baylor and then Oklahoma."

NC State assistant coach Rob Moxley has heavily recruited Woodson, and the Wolfpack coaching staff has made him a priority, which is huge to Robinson.

"It's not about the hoopla, how big-time your school is... any of that," he said. "Dominic needs to find a place that is making him a priority, and that's what I have to help him do. NC State, Baylor, and Oklahoma have done that.

"I'm trying to help him the best I can through this process and for me, what I've learned is NC State would be a great situation for him. They need bigs down there, and coach Gottfried is a great coach. The way they use their big men is a positive, plus they have Tyler Lewis there and Rodney Purvis there... that would be a good fit for Dominic.

"I'm also building a strong relationship with coach Moxley, so for me I think that would be a good place. They are definitely involved."

When the time comes for Woodson to make a decision he will be looking to find the best fit, and a decision will almost certainly come this fall.

"That's the plan, to get his commitment out of the way after taking his visits," said Robinson. "Then he can just worry about his senior year and his grades.

"I'm glad he has already left for school because that will help Dominic's adjustment to college. You still miss family and you still need people close to you, but you have to look for the best overall fit, regardless of where it is. That's what it is all about."

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