Pitt Turnaround Leads Woodall To Pitt

Travon Woodall was a youngster on the basketball court, trying to emulate his favorite college basketball players. Brandin Knight and Carl Krauser were two of those players. He quickly became a Pitt fan because of the way they played, and it eventually landed him at Pitt.

Travon Woodall said he tried to emulate former Pitt players such as Brandin Knight and Carl Krauser, as he was growing up on the basketball court.

Knight was from New Jersey, Krauser from The Bronx. Woodall grew up in New Jersey and in Brooklyn. He calls both places from home. Seeing Knight--one of the players instrumental in Pitt's development--as a kid who came from New Jersey, Woodall easily associated himself with Knight.

"Honestly, seeing them when I was growing up, seeing Brandin and Carl, I always thought of myself as a Big East guard," Woodall said. "Just seeing the toughness, and seeing them compete. I see it in myself."

Woodall will play his final home game Sunday at the Petersen Events Center. With two regular season games left, one more Big East Tournament, and very likely one more NCAA Tournament, Woodall has placed himself in the company of Knight and Krauser.

Knight finished his Pitt career with 1,440 points and 785 assists. The 785 assists are the most in school history. Krauser finished with 1,642 points and 568 assists. Currently, Krauser's 568 assists rank fifth in school history. Woodall could very well pass Krauser on senior day, entering the day with 561 career assist. Woodall is also a member of the 1,000-point club with 1,063.

Things have come full circle, as Knight is one of Woodall's coaches. From being a player he tried to emulate in his youth, Knight has become even more of a valuable mentor and friend in a unique way. These two players who were symbolic in his love of basketball, drew him to Pitt. Now, he stands alongside them in several career statistical categories.

"It's crazy, that now he's my coach," Woodall said. "He's my mentor, and he's basically my big brother. He's definitely someone I hold dear to me. He definitely showed me how its supposed to be done."

Every kid has a favorite team growing up. Woodall's was Pitt, mainly because of how these two helped put Pitt on the map.

"It didn't really take much," Woodall said. "Once it was Brandin, he was from Jersey. I had family in Jersey, regardless that I was in Brooklyn at the time. I was from New York, rooting for Pitt, but also rooting for people that I liked as point guards. A player from New York that was part of the program (Krasuer), they were in the Big East Tournament. The Big East, I feel, is New York's conference. Pitt was my team."

Therefore, when Woodall started getting recruited, Pitt was a no-brainer. Things like official visits were simply formalities. Though there were other schools such as Rutgers, St. Joseph's, Virginia Tech and Florida State that he considered--Pitt was where he wanted to be all along.

"I spoke to Coach (Dixon), I was around Brandin, Orlando Antigua, talking to those guys," Woodall said. "They related to my situation, growing up. The type of players that were here, I felt I would mesh perfectly. Guys from the area, the same type of guys I knew I could be with. I'm the type of person I have to feel confident in the guys I'm going to be around. I was comfortable with all the guys here."

Woodall earned Co-Team MVP honors with Lamar Patterson last year. Things weren't always easy, he says. Woodall played in ten games of the 2008-09 season before an injury forced him into a medical redshirt. He took that in stride. He had to wait his turn behind Levance Fields--another point guard whose named is well-charted in the school record books. He says all the personal success, and the team's 97-39 record that he's been a part of during his career, was all well-worth the wait.

"Coming in here, there were doubters and everyone who counted me out," Woodall said. "Now, I'm amongst that group. I just tell guys all the time, with patience, anything is possible. Just be patient. Everything can't happen for you right away. If you're willing to be patient, everything will fall into place."

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