Woods Working Under The Radar

Seventh Woods has taken a backseat this spring. Known for high-flying dunks and surreal displays of athleticism, Woods has spent the last few months working on the intricacies of his game.

His AAU coach, Major Williamson, believes the biggest change for Woods hasn't been attempting a position shift (combo guard to point guard). It's been stepping out of his comfort zone and accepting his role as a leader.

"I've been with him for about four years now so I've been able to see the progression," said Williamson, head coach of the Carolina Wolves 17U team. "He's naturally more of a kind of lead by example type person. But now, you're getting a more vocal presence from him. He's giving guys directions both offensively and defensively. He's making sure everyone is where they need to be and doing what they're supposed to do."

North Carolina and Roy Williams, by all accounts, are recruiting Woods to play point guard in Chapel Hill. Williams offered him a scholarship this past October, and he remains the only class of 2016 guard with a UNC offer.

While he believes Woods is more than capable of being a college lead guard, that's not his primary role with the Wolves.

"We don't try to pigeon hole him and say ‘he's just a point guard or he is a shooting guard," explained Williamson. "To me he's a basketball player. He's obviously one of the most important basketball players on our team. He does a lot of good things from a point guard perspective, but he is also able to slide over to the ‘2' guard position easily. He does a little bit of both for us."

Woods's quickness and ability to finish in transition have always been among the first thing scouts point to as strengths. Williams said a different part of his game needs to get more attention.

"He's never shied away from guarding the basketball," he said. "That's one of things with a lot of kids, they don't want to play defense. They want to get out and run and get out in transition. While he enjoys doing that, and is good at it, I think he takes just as much pride in playing defense. That's what I enjoy watching him do and it's something he's very good at."

The Wolves have played sparingly this spring compared to many AAU programs, including some who also play on the UnderArmour circuit. Woods is averaging nearly 15 points per game and shooting 30 percent from the 3-point line in two UnderArmour tournaments (Pittsburgh, Houston) and three other regional tournaments (two in Columbia, S.C. and one in Augusta, Ga.)

"He's a gym rat," said Williamson. "So, you know, the jump shot is what it is. It's serviceable to us and thing is, at the end of the day, we're talking about a young man that's just finishing the 10th grade. There's going to be a lot more growth and a lot more gym time to polish the product. You hear it as well as I hear it, everyone wants to ask that question about his jump shot. He's consistent enough for us that we're not going to push any panic buttons."

At Hammond (S.C.) School, Woods is the first, second and third offensive option. With the Wolves, he's playing with another talented player, Tevin Mack, who has offers from Wake Forest, Virginia Tech, VCU, Mississippi State, Auburn and Georgia.

"Tevin has been that consummate teammate that Seventh needs," Williamson said. "Seventh loves getting his teammates involved and making sure they have open looks. He puts so much pressure on the defense that one guy is probably going to have a hard time guarding him. When the help comes, someone is wide open and this spring and summer it's been Tevin."

The Wolves' last two events of the summer are a Big Shots tournament in Myrtle Beach, S.C. from July 10-13 and the UnderArmour Association Finals in Atlanta from July 16-20. In addition, Woods will be a participant at the NBPA Top 100 Camp in June.

Williamson hopes his star guard continues to "work on the day-to-day things."

"With time and repetition he'll keep getting better," he said. "The more he does it, the older he gets, the more mature gets, the better he'll become. As long as he keeps working all of the other stuff will take care of itself. He just needs to stay consistent and keep the work ethic he's developed."

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