Former Hammond guard Seventh Woods garnered national attention while playing high school basketball in Columbia thanks to his explosiveness and athleticism.
He was hampered by a knee injury and sprained ankle this summer at North Carolina, but still managed to impress teammates and coaches during practice when he was on the court.
“I still don’t understand how somebody can be that fast with the ball and still jump that high and just hang in the air,” Tar Heels forward Isaiah Hicks said at ACC Media Days. “Some layups I’ll just be like, ‘Did y’all just see that?’ I’m amazed by him. He’s really impressive.”
Woods is now healthy and had nine points, three rebounds and seven assists in UNC’s exhibition win against UNC Pembroke this past Friday.
He’s shown flashes of what he’s capable of, and UNC coach Roy Williams believes he has a special talent in Woods.
“The thing that got me in recruiting is his speed with the ball and how I like to play, having a point guard who can push the ball up with somebody behind their back and not knowing what’s coming. That’s a skill and talent that I really treasure,” Williams said.
The North Carolina coach said it’s hard to play point guard as a freshman in the ACC, especially in his system, but he believes Woods is capable of doing so as he adjusts to the speed of the game.
“He’s been sort of feeling his way,” Williams said. “You can’t go 100 percent unless you know where you’re going. If you’re trying to say, ‘Do I turn right or turn left?’ What do you do? You slow down. That’s the way he’s been playing right now. He doesn’t have that feel of where to go and what to do and just play.”
Woods has a good point guard to learn from in junior Joel Berry II. Berry was named the 2016 ACC Tournament MVP and made the All-Final Four Team as the Tar Heels fell just short of winning the national title last season.
Berry knows what Woods is going through, trying to adjust from high school to college.
“The game is a little faster, and coming in as a freshman you’re a little timid in making plays, but once he sees that coach wants him to (play fast), I think he’ll start doing it a little bit more,” Berry said.
He added Woods’ speed and athleticism will be a weapon for North Carolina sooner rather than later.
“I’m fast, but I think Seventh has a little bit more burst than I do,” Berry said. “His speed, how he can jump and get into the big man and still be able to finish the shot, that’s something that amazes me. I had that as a freshman, but I think he does a little better job than I did with that.”