Wood Hits the AAU Circuit

Marion (IN) wing Scott Wood must now turn his attention to the AAU circuit after a disappointing ending to his junior season.

Marion (IN) wing Scott Wood must now turn his attention to the AAU circuit after a disappointing ending to his junior season.

With his team trailing Brownsburg (IN) by two points in the Class 4A state championship, Wood hit a 3-pointer with 2.1 seconds left to give Marion a one-point advantage and what appeared to be the victory.

However, the game wasn't over. After both teams used a total of four timeouts, Brownsburg's Austin Fish inbounded three-quarter court. The Bulldogs threw a long pass under the basket to Julian Mavunga, but the ball was batted down. Brownsburg's Gordon Hayward picked up the loose ball and hit a short layup at the buzzer, giving his team a 40-39 victory and the first boys basketball state title in school history.

"I'm sure everybody felt like my shot won it," said Wood. "I know it wasn't wise to think like that, and we had a couple of opportunities to end the game, but we weren't able to do it. What happened... happened.

"You could take almost any team in Indiana and I'd say probably [Brownsburg] and another team would be lucky enough to get a shot off. It's hard to lose on a play like that, to know you were 2.1 seconds away from being state champions."

Prior to his jumper, Wood, a NC State commitment, had missed all seven of his field goal attempts.

"Most of the time, I'm always thinking the next one is going in," he said. "That game I wanted to play really well but I didn't. I was a little down, but Julius [Mays], Jay [Edwards], and coach Luce all did a good job of keeping my head up and I felt like I could make that shot."

Marion was mainly in the game due to the strong play of senior guard Julius Mays. Mays, a NC State signee, hit big shot after big shot for his team and made countless plays down the stretch. He totaled a game-high 21 points and five rebounds in his final game for Marion. On the night, Mays hit 7-of-9 shots from the field, 7-of-9 from the free throw line, and his only missed shots were two 3-pointers.

Wood knows that the 6-foot-2 guard was pivotal to his team's success.

"Julius is a great player," said Wood. "The thing about him is he can play almost any style of basketball. If it's a transition game he can get out and do that, and if it's a slowdown game he can do that too. He's great at controlling the tempo of a basketball game and playing the game the way he wants it played. He knows how to play basketball."

Wood drained 86 shots from behind the 3-point line for the season and finished at 44.3 percent on the year. He set the school's career record for most 3-pointers made and has another year left to improve on the mark. He finished the year shooting 45.4 percent on all field goal attempts and averaged 15.7 points a game, and missed five games with a deep leg bruise.

Now he'll be playing on the wing for the SYF Players, a strong AAU program that plays on the Nike circuit.

"We've already started playing," said Wood. "We were in Wisconsin last week for a tournament, and the week before that we were in Chicago. We won the tournament in Chicago and made it to the semifinals in the one up in Wisconsin.

"I did pretty good in both of them. I didn't play as good as I wanted in the pools of the one last weekend, but I feel I did really well in the playoffs."

Next up for Wood and SYF is the 2008 Boo Williams Invitational, played this weekend in Hampton, Virginia.

"That one is always big because we're playing against a bunch of other top Nike teams," stated Wood. "After that one, I'd say our Arkansas tournament will be big, the Peach Jam, the AAU Nationals, and the AAU Showcase.

"For the most part we are a transition team. I like to get out and run and get open, and we try to get up-and-down. When we do get into a halfcourt set,I'll come off screens or run some ball-screen action. For the most part though I try and play in a transition game."

NC State 2009 point guard target John Wall will be at Boo Williams playing for the South Carolina Ravens, and Wood will be looking to track his progress.

"I'm trying to follow John Wall a little bit," he said. "I want to see him play. I'm trying to see how all of the recruits are doing... the coaches have mentioned a few of them to me.

"I told coach Towe that if he ever needs me to talk to any of them and put NC State out there I have no problem doing it because I want the best players around me so we can get to NCAA Tournament."

Wood committed to NC State earlier this season after considering offers from NC State, Miami (FL), Virginia Tech, St. Louis, and Butler among others, and he had received heavy interest from Pittsburgh, Florida, and Indiana.

He remains in constant contact with the Wolfpack coaching staff and is looking forward to helping the program take the next step.

"I talk to coach Towe probably once a week and it's about the same with coach Lowe where I'll call him to see how he's doing," said Wood. "It helps with my dad being a high school coach so he can call him whenever he wants. That's nice.

"I know they definitely want me to work on my strength and keep getting stronger... I'm right at 6-foot-6 and 165 pounds right now. I want to work on my penetration game and keep being able to get to the rim. Another thing they say is they want me to keep winning games. They want to bring in winning basketball players and get the program back to where it was in the 1980's."

Wood remains firm in his decision.

"Recruiting has slowed down," he said. "I'm hoping it stays that way. I'm ready to go to NC State. I want to help change that program."

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