He won’t play a single minute for South Carolina this coming season, but that won’t stop Seventh Woods from being a big part of the Gamecocks’ team.
Head coach Frank Martin said Thursday the team will not apply for a waiver to make the senior immediately eligible after transferring from North Carolina. Woods instead will redshirt and take a season to regroup and adjust to his program.
Woods was a high-profile recruit coming out of Hammond Academy before signing with North Carolina. As a senior, he averaged 18.9 points, 4.5 rebounds and five assists. He helped lead Hammond to a state championship in 2015 and was twice named South Carolina’s Mr. Basketball among numerous other accolades. As a result, he was constantly under intense pressure to perform.
“He’s been under a microscope since he was 13 years old. I don’t know how he’s done it and kept his sanity. I really don’t,” Martin said. “As a 14-year-old, every time he dribbled, every gym was sold out and every critic was out there criticizing everything he did wrong. I have no idea how that young man has been able to keep the class that he lives life with under those circumstances.”
Martin hopes that by giving Woods a year to adjust it will relieve some pressure he has felt.
“The whole thought process is, let’s redshirt and get out of that spotlight for a minute, take a deep breath and regain his swag, which made him pretty dang good,” Martin said. “And the most important part, let’s he and I get to know each other as a player and coach. We got to know each other as people during the recruiting process. Let’s get to know each other as a player and coach so when he is eligible to go he can maximize who he is.”
While his numbers with the Tar Heels may not be jaw-dropping — 1.8 points and 1.1 rebounds per game in 94 career games — Martin hopes his presence helps a young Gamecock team develop.
“He backed up two lottery picks. It’s not like he went [to North Carolina] and didn’t play. He was a rotational player on a national championship team,” Martin said. “He’s got some experience there and he’s such an incredible kid that you can argue he was their favorite teammate up there. If you ask, people will tell you that. He’s going to bring that to our team too, even though he’s not playing.”