With the college basketball regular season already in the books, time on the class of 2014 recruiting clock is ticking away quickly. That isn't to say that the big-game fish SMU has already reeled in isn't enough, but when it comes to adding others, the pickings are slim.
Hutchinson C.C. guard Darrick Wood has been on Larry Brown and Ulric Maligi's watch list for quite some time now. Wood took an official visit to SMU back in September of last year.
Wood said he was seriously considering SMU after the visit and the program is one of only a few still left in consideration today.
"SMU because of its coaching staff, UCLA because of its history and location, and Minnesota because I think Coach Pitino is doing a wonderful job with his players and I think I'd fit right in with his style of play," Wood said. "Those are my top three right now."
With SMU basketball attracting an astounding fan base at the newly renovated Moody Coliseum, and earning a 23 win season, Wood says he has definitely noticed a difference.
"They're looking real good… real good," Wood said. "I've been watching the games. At home it doesn't seem like they give away too many victories, I think they've only lost one time to Louisville."
Wood says the SMU coaches have never lost contact with him and they check in regularly. Although he does not plan to travel back to the Hilltop any time soon, he talks with Coach Brown and his staff enough to always be in the loop.
"I talk to Coach LB, Coach KT (and) Coach Ulric all the time," Wood said. "I just talked to Coach Ulric a couple days ago. He told me they were getting ready for their conference tournament and I wished him luck."
The 6-foot-4, 170 lb. freshman's torn-meniscus rehabilitation has not been speedy, causing him to struggle early on. But a rejuvenating mid-season hiatus elevated his play noticeably.
"Before that break I was at about 40 percent running around out there," Wood said. "After the break it felt like I was about a seventy."
"I think the last ten games I averaged around 21 points per game or something like that. I felt like I left off on a good note. Hopefully I can get back up to 100 percent pretty soon."
During the time Wood was forced to watch games while his teammates were in them, he learned valuable lessons about basketball and found ways to better his skills.
"I think I definitely grew," Wood said. "I realized a lot of things I was doing wrong on and off the court so when I came back I just put it to work. Luckily it paid off."
The former St. Johns ball handler has been to Los Angeles on numerous occasions seeing what the bruins have to offer. He will visit Minnesota for the first time in April and in the weeks afterwards he plans to make his decision, which will be based on several important factors.
"Style of play," Wood said. "Being here has allowed me to do as much as I want to do so the ability to come in and make an immediate impact also."
"I need a coach who's going to push me as a person and as a basketball player. I'm just a regular kid like anybody else. I need a coaching staff that's going to remind me why I'm here and why I'm chasing my goals and dreams and things like that; like somebody would do for me at home."
Wood says he will be ready to give a verbal commitment towards the end of April.