CHAPEL HILL, N.C. --- To get his name back, Seventh Woods must get his game back.
"I’m not calling him Seventh because I haven’t seen the guy that I recruited show up yet,” North Carolina coach Roy Williams told reporters on Tuesday - and he tells Woods on a regular basis.
"Every day - every day he says it to me,” Woods told Inside Carolina.
The player Williams recruited was a dynamic athlete - with what the coach deemed “outrageous” speed and explosiveness - capable of attacking the rim and being a highly disruptive defensive presence.
The player Williams has seen thus far this season is hesitant, overthinking each move and trying to mentally move past a series of injuries that have plagued him over the past year. Those mental and physical obstacles have thus far grounded that explosiveness.
"It’s slowing getting back,” Woods said of his legendary athleticism. "I feel 85 percent right now and I’m doing (physical therapy) so it’s coming back. I see myself showing flashes of my explosiveness in practice so I’m just trying to translate it to the game.
"It’s probably a mental thing. I’m really just trying to do the right thing right now, not being comfortable is a big part of it."
Through three games of his freshman season, the Tar Heel guard has nine assists (he also had seven in UNC’s exhibition game), but only one made basket - a three-pointer - and five shot attempts in a total of 39 minutes on the floor. Two of those shot attempts were a missed dunk and layup on a couple fast break opportunities, an area where Williams saw him thrive in his many recruiting visits to Columbia, S.C.
"I don’t think I’ve played aggressive enough since I got here,” Woods said. "He recruited me to score the ball, pick up full court, so I think that’s what he’s looking for. I think he just wants me to be more aggressive in transition and defensively.
"I’m trying to go out there every night and prove him right. He recruited me to be explosive, be aggressive, be a defensive player, so I’m trying to prove him right.”
Williams added: "He’s been battling nagging injuries, but we really need him to be a player and be the player I think he can be … But he’s going to get there."
Until then, Woods said he expects his head coach to continue calling him something else.
“Sixth or Eighth."