UNC Basketball: What if Seventh Woods had stayed healthy?

CHAPEL HILL, NC - NOVEMBER 10: (L-R) Cameron Johnson
CHAPEL HILL, NC - NOVEMBER 10: (L-R) Cameron Johnson /

What if Seventh Woods had stayed healthy this season? Would the Tar Heels be in the same position as they are currently?

The Atlantic Coast Conference season is now halfway over for the Tar Heels and at 5-4 in ACC play, most would say things have not gone according to plan, especially after their recent loss at home to NC State.

There are still nine games left in the conference season and a double bye is still in reach for the team.

However, this season has raised some questions and some of those questions come in the form of “What ifs”.

Recently I looked at what if Tony Bradley had stayed, but today I want to look at something else:

What if Seventh Woods had stayed healthy?

This season was supposed to be Woods’ season. Last year Woods struggled with the transition from high school basketball to college basketball.

This could be seen in moments of frustration followed by moments of excitement.

An example of that would be when he would turn the ball over and then chase down the player who took the turnover and block his layup. Both maddening and exciting all at the same time.

Luckily for Woods, the team didn’t need him too much last season. Woods served as the team’s third-string point guard and provided guard depth off the bench behind starter Joel Berry II and super backup Nate Britt.

Woods did what was needed, providing 1.5 points and 1.2 assists in just under 8 minutes per game, mostly during the regular season as his role was greatly reduced during tournament time.

Those few minutes of play though prepared Woods for what he was to be this season, Berry’s backup.

Things started off good for Woods, who saw an increase in all areas of his game before an injury cut his season short after just seven games.

Though Woods could still return, though that seems to be looking less likely, his absence has affected the team, most notably Berry and Jalek Felton.


Berry is currently playing a career high 31.7 minutes per game. It is not a huge jump from last season’s 30.4, but that extra minute and a half can take a toll over a long season, as is evident in his recent slump, including his six point performance against the Wolfpack.

That number is even higher in conference play where he is averaging over 34 minutes per game. Berry is shooting 36.2 percent from the floor in conference play and has seen his points per game drop from 20 per game the first three conference games to 15 the past three.

Woods would help with the fatigue issue there.

Before going down, Woods was averaging 10 minutes per game. Not all of that would come from Berry’s numbers, but even an extra two to three minutes per game would bring Berry closer to the 32.5 he averaged last conference season.

Woods’ injury has also put a lot of pressure on Felton. Woods was supposed to be Felton’s Britt this season. An older guard that Roy Williams could rely on while Jalek grew and learned the college game.

However, because of Woods injury, Felton has been thrown into a bigger role. Instead of playing mostly meaningless minutes, Felton is playing the key backup to Berry and is struggling. In his nine ACC games, Felton has just eight points with five turnovers in just 54 minutes of action.

Due to these struggles, Williams has had to rely on Berry more which has led to the aforementioned increased minutes. It has also led to some dissatisfaction on Felton’s part.

His recent suspension probably has not helped matters either.

So how much better would North Carolina be if Woods didn’t get injured. Again, like with Bradley, it is hard to tell.

However, there does seem to be evidence to suggest UNC may have a few more wins, ala Wofford, Florida State, and NC State and therefore be sitting a little better off overall.

That’s the thing with what-ifs it is impossible to know for sure, but it is something to think about as the team enters the second half of the season.

What do you think would’ve happened had Woods stayed healthy? Let us know in the comments below.