WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Keyshawn Woods led Conference USA in 3-point shooting his one and only season as a freshman at Charlotte in 2014-15.
He’ll be suiting up to play against the them Tuesday night, as his Wake Forest Demon Deacons (6-2) play host to the 49ers (6-2) at 7 p.m. at Joel Coliseum.
Woods said Monday the game will have a bit of an edge for him, and that’s something that Wake coach Danny Manning completely understands.
“I’ve been there myself as a player squaring up against teams I’ve been a part of. It’s a little bit different, but that’s just part of it,” Manning said. “You’re going to have nerves for every game. If you don’t have nerves or jitters, it’s time for you to move on. This is a big game for him. He’s playing against guys he knows really well, and against a school he committed to early on and played for. It is a big deal for him.”
Woods is second in scoring for the Deacs at 13.1 points per game, and leads Wake in 3-point shooting at 57.1 percent.
“I think he’s done really well. He’s like a sixth starter for us. That’s how we look at it. He comes in and has been very efficient with his minutes,” Manning said. “He gets a lot of things done for us offensively, scoring behind the 3-point line, in-between and at the rim. He’s also doing a good job of finding guys defensively. It’s tough on ball screens, but he can guard a bigger guy. He knows the technique and can compete.”
The 49ers offer a small starting five, going with three guards. JC Washington, a 6-foot-6 junior forward, is their tallest starter. They have four players averaging double figures, led by sophomore guard Jon Davis at 20.8.
“I think Charlotte’s guards are really, really good. They do a great job of getting out on transition, attacking on ball screens and hitting seams. Their big guys do a great job of making themselves available and running in transition,” Manning said. “They bring in (Hudson) Price, who’s a good shooter, so they basically have four guards out there at there at times.
“One of their guys that plays on the inside (Anthony Vanhook) is one of their best passers, so that’s going to create some problems for us, making sure we get matched up in transition. We have to make sure we have a real strong emphasis on getting paint touches.”
Wake leading scorer, John Collins (17.6 ppg), will continue to work on his biggest struggle this season — avoiding fouls to stay in the game. He played just 19 minutes in the Deacs win Saturday at Richmond.
“He just needs to do a better job of initial positioning,” Manning said. “He’s getting better, but it’s a work in progress. I think it’s just lack of attention to detail at times.”
Manning said often college post players aren’t used to being forced to use their positioning skills at the high school level.
“Most big guys in high school can just stand at the rim and alter shots. Position defense is not all the time that important to bigger guys in high school,” Manning said. “His high school coach and his AAU coach did a great job — don’t get me wrong. They did a great job coaching. But at this level, initial positioning is so important, because guys are really good at this level.”
The Deacs play at UNC Greensboro Friday, playing two in-state schools this week.
“I think a lot of people on the outside out of start look at us and see the four ACC schools, but we have a lot of really good programs in this state,” Manning said. “I just think it’s a chance to highlight that fact. UNCC is just one of those schools. North Carolina Central is a school that has been really good. It’s across the board. I think it’s good for all of our state schools to play one another from time to time.
“I think if you look at it by state, I would compare all of our state schools to any state and know we would do well in any type of competition by state.”