Sherrell McMillan/Inside Carolina

UNC Commitments Seventh Woods, Jalek Felton Face Off

The two future Tar Heels faced each other Friday night at the Chick-fil-A Classic.

COLUMBIA, S.C. – UNC signee Seventh Woods was again at the center of an intrastate showdown on Friday.

At the 2014 Chick-Fil-A Classic, Woods was the up-and-coming junior ready to lay claim to the state against then senior (and now Texas freshman) Tevin Mack.

This year, Woods played the role of veteran in a duel with up-and-coming junior, and UNC commitment, Jalek Felton in a battle of the Palmetto state’s two best high school prospects.

Woods and his Hammond (S.C.) school squad prevailed over Mullins (S.C.), pulling away in the second half for a 79-49 win.

“It felt good,” Woods said. “I’ve been playing in high school since the eighth grade, so it’s felt like I’ve been the youngest one on the court for five years. My ninth grade year we played them in Myrtle Beach and they blew us out by 30. To come back here and get that win in my hometown, it’s a great experience. It was kind of a get-back game.”

Woods played a solid yet sometimes uneven floor game, finishing with 13 points (5-9 FG, 1-2 3pt, 2-3 FT), eight rebounds, five assists, three blocks, three steals and nine turnovers.

“Seventh was excited to have a match-up game like this,” Hammond head coach Mark McClam said. “He always rises to the occasion. It’s kind of cool that they’re going to be teammates together as Tar Heels later on, which is an interesting matchup. Felton certainly is a player, kid can score.”

While Woods has College of Charleston signee Chavez Goodwin to lighten his scoring load, Felton has no such luxury. He’s his team’s best shooter, scorer, defender and rebounder. His margin of error is dangerously thin. An off night from Felton almost certainly means a loss for Mullins.

“It’s always good to be in South Carolina and play for our home crowd,” Felton said. “We started off slow… we have to hit shots. That was the key, we weren’t hitting shots. We normally average about 80 points per game and ended up with 49, it just wasn’t a good shooting night for us.”

Felton finished with 25 points (7-19 FG, 2-8 3pt, 9-10 FT), four assists, three rebounds and six turnovers.

Though Felton is a just a junior, he was a UNC commitment 11 months before Woods signed with the Tar Heels in November. He’s played in big high school and AAU tournaments, and with USA basketball, as a future Tar Heel.

It’s still new to Woods, who says he talks frequently with the UNC staff, particularly Roy Williams and assistant coach C.B. McGrath.

“The last month has been great,” he said. “I feel like a kid again, no more pressure about pulling me to South Carolina or North Carolina or wherever I’m going. I can just go out there and focus on basketball.”

Felton said he talks to Williams and McGrath about once per week.

“They’re telling me to keep my grades up, play hard and really work in the classroom,” he said. “They make sure I’m healthy and they just check on me.”

The high-flying dunks, aggressive defense, shooting ability and defensive prowess of both players gave onlookers a glimpse of the future of North Carolina basketball. It’s a future, according to Felton, in which he and Woods can thrive.

“I can play both guard spots (in college),” said Felton. “They run a fast-break game and whatever guard is back just pushes it, so everyone gets to touch the ball. That’s why I fit best in that program, because everyone touches the ball every play. The ball never stops moving.”

Added Woods: “I think we can be great together.”

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