CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – When Joel Berry went down with an ankle injury midway through UNC’s 95-50 win over Radford on Sunday, freshman point guard Seventh Woods was asked to step into the junior’s role.
In a career-high 22 minutes of action, Woods recorded nine points, three rebounds and two steals while also coughing up five turnovers.
“I think it was good for him, he did some good things,” UNC head coach Roy Williams said on his radio show on Monday. “He didn’t like, even more so than me, that he had those five turnovers in the game. When getting those minutes, I told him today, ‘you’ve got to grow up a little quicker.’”
Williams says that Woods’ is still growing and that a lot is being asked of him as a point guard in his first year.
“Being a freshman point guard is just so overwhelming,” Williams said. “It would be exactly like a true freshman out of high school starting for the football team. There’s so many things you have to do. It’s so much more difficult than any other position out on the court.”
While the 6-foot-2 guard was able to fill in for the injured Berry, Williams says Woods is still not perfectly healthy himself.
“In Seventh’s case, we still don’t have the 100-percent Seventh Woods yet,” Williams said. “He’s still not healthy, he still doesn’t feel like his body is doing the things he wants to do. We’re trying to get him healthy, we’re trying to get him in a little bit more.”
The expectations for Woods’s future are high, especially with Williams comparing him to former point guard Ty Lawson. For now, though, the Columbia, S.C. native is facing a steep learning curve.
“Seventh has not shown up yet; I’m still calling his Sixth Woods,” Williams said.
Do you have any information on how Theo Pinson is doing?
“Yeah, it’s about what they thought… They said it looks good, about what they thought it was going to be. They will do a CT scan probably around the eight-week mark, but that’s what they said, 8-12 weeks. He’s doing well. He feels good. He’s sort of chomping at the bit, but it’s still not where the doctors want it to be, so we’ll just have to wait.”
It was a tough loss to Indiana on Wednesday, but it seemed like your team was getting close to a comeback in the second half?
“We still stumbled around a little bit. We got it to four, they got a free throw and made it to five, then they go down and we were really good on that defensive possession and they jump up and make a three while almost losing possession on the shot. He makes a big three. If you look at it on tape, his legs flare out a little bit because he was a little bit off balance but it went right in. That takes it back to 8, then we go down and miss and then they score again. The nine-point margin was misleading because it wasn’t really that close. We made a nice little run, but never got over that hump. It was discouraging and has stuck with me even past the Radford game.”
A lot has been made about the atmosphere in Bloomington. How would you like your team to learn from playing in that type of atmosphere that may help you down the road?
“One of the things we talk about is focus on our bench and what’s going on on the court and nothing else. We have to block everything else out. They were so enthusiastic, the crowd was so loud. The younger players especially had a difficult time understanding what we were saying to them, even during the timeout when we were closed in closed in a circle. Communicating on the floor was very difficult as well. It’s something they’ve got to get used to because I told them ‘guys we are going to play at least 19 more times like that.’ You play Kentucky in Vegas and then 18 conference games. It’s going to be that level of play.”
What were you disappointed with early in that game?
“About everything related to the game of basketball. The legal process had already taken place at the election a few weeks before, but just everything. We were a step slow, they were more aggressive, they were more into it. We weren’t even close. They were more aggressive, they played harder, played faster, boxed out harder, set screens harder. Everything you could in a game and I told them at halftime that I felt lucky that we were only down 12. In the last eight minutes of the first half we had an opportunity to get 10 points from the free throw line and we got one. So we lost nine points right there…. I told them we were lucky, and now let’s play better.”
Kenny Williams had a career-high 19 points against Radford last night. What did you see out of him?
“If he could only make a daggum layup. He made all the threes and missed two layups in the first half. I was giving him grief about that today. The first ten minutes we were really good, but everything looks better when the golf ball goes in the basket. Kenny was really shooting it. He’s had some good days in practice shooting the ball. The scrimmage we had against Memphis, it was the first time we played somebody else since last year and Kenny lost his confidence in his shot last year, and in the first few minutes of that scrimmage against Memphis he misses his first three then makes three in a row. He’s been shooting the ball with confidence all year and four threes before the first TV timeout is like Marcus Paige against Indiana [last year].”
Will Seventh and Nate (Britt) split time in the Davidson game?
“It depends on the pace of the game. It depends on foul trouble. I’m not against playing Stilman (White), either. Today we worked Stillman in with the other guys. Not as much as we did Nate and Seventh, but I would go with any of the three.”
Do you think Justin Jackson is as involved in the offense as you would like him to be?
“Yeah. I don’t have any problem with that. He’s the second person I can say with sincerity that I wish his shot would go in a little more. He’s way more aggressive, which I love, he’s getting to the basket, he’s getting to the free throw line more. Against Indiana for almost all 40 minutes he was our offense. It’s something that I’ve talked to him about. He’s going to have a heck of a year and it’s just getting started for him.”