The night before Seventh Woods — a point guard with a four-star rating and an eye-opening YouTube reel — committed to North Carolina, the Hammond star wrestled with the thought of staying home for college.
The fact Frank Martin and the Gamecocks got that far in Woods’s recruitment was an upset of sorts, former Hammond coach Mark McClam told The State last summer.
“Frank did a great job of catching up with North Carolina,” McClam said, “because when Seventh showed up to Hammond in the eighth grade, he always used to wear a blue ‘Go Tar Heels’ little bracelet. So he was always a Tar Heel fan.
“I thought Frank did an excellent job of recruiting not only Seventh, but his parents and everybody else on why South Carolina would have been a great fit.”
Over three years after that announcement, Woods is seeking his next school. The 6-foot-2, 185-pounder posted on Instagram last week that he’s transferring from UNC after three seasons in which he averaged 1.8 points and 1.5 assists per game. The news came on the same day as Felipe Haase’s reported departure from USC.
The latter means the Gamecocks have an open scholarship to fill. Given a second chance, would Woods come home? Is that a move that makes sense for both sides?
According to a source familiar with the situation, USC is interested in at least pursuing Woods. He’d be a traditional transfer, meaning he’d have to sit out the 2019-20 season, per NCAA rules. His eligibility in 2020-21 is intriguing as that’s the first season Carolina is expecting to be without A.J. Lawson. (Lawson is testing the NBA draft waters this spring, but hasn’t hired an agent and is viewed as a potential first round pick in 2020.)
Woods, the 247Sports No. 48 player in the 2016 class, had an underwhelming career with the Tar Heels, but his big-game experience — Woods scored a career-high 14 points against Gonzaga last season — and elite athleticism are traits strongly considered by the Gamecock staff. Woods could give USC another ball-handler in 2020-21, joining Jair Bolden, Trae Hannibal and T.J. Moss. (Dorman point guard Myles Tate remains a high South Carolina target in the 2020 recruiting class.)
No visit has yet been scheduled, but Columbia’s Woods has long been familiar with Martin and USC.
“When I took the job (in 2012), one of the first places I went to was the Hammond School,” Martin recalled to The State last summer. “And I walked in and here’s this kid going into ninth grade. Here walks out this kid. He’s got a North Carolina jacket on. He takes it off so he can work out. And he’s wearing a leather North Carolina bracelet on his wrist.
“And we went from not even being in the thought to, like, that close from getting him.”
Of course, Woods isn’t USC’s only target to fill its open scholarship. With Haase’s departure, the Gamecocks are keeping an eye on the graduate transfer market for a rebounding forward who could play right away. Stadium.com’s Jeff Goodman reported last week there’s over 125 grad transfers available.
South Carolina basketball scholarship breakdown