UNC Basketball 2018-19 Player Preview: Seventh Woods

NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 10: Head coach Roy Williams of the North Carolina Tar Heels has a conversation with Seventh Woods
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 10: Head coach Roy Williams of the North Carolina Tar Heels has a conversation with Seventh Woods /

With a healthy offseason under him, junior Seventh Woods looks to make a significant jump in production from his first two years.

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The human highlight reel from high school has had a difficult time adjusting to the college game thanks to a handful of injuries ever since he stepped foot onto campus two years ago.

With no real healthy offseason before this past summer, Woods has struggled to find time to improve his game and find a major role for the Tar Heels up until now.

With the departure of Joel Berry, the point guard position is wide open and looks to be a mix of him and freshman Coby White.

There is no question Woods has his athleticism and health back heading into this season, so only time will tell if he is ready to step into a bigger role this year.

2017-18 Season in Review

With hopes of being the backup point guard to Joel Berry last year, his season was quickly derailed after only seven games, when he broke a bone in his foot.

After missing the next 17 games, he got back on the court to finish ACC play but rotations were already set and Woods found himself playing only limited spot minutes in place of Berry.

Finishing with a total of 20 games played, he averaged 1.1 points and 1.0 assists in only 7.0 minutes per game. Woods had a season-high nine points in the season opener and finished with only five points his final 13 games, scoreless in 11 of them.

Woods finished the season with two points in only six minutes in the Tar Heels’ loss to Texas A&M in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

What to expect in 2018-19?

After Woods’ first healthy offseason, expectations are much higher than the first two seasons in Chapel Hill.

Though Coby White looks slated to start the season opener, Woods will most likely split most of the time as the lead guard in the backcourt for Carolina.

Even though Woods hasn’t played many significant minutes over his two years, he has two full years of learning the system and being able to adjust to the college game which will prove to be extremely important with a freshman point guard beside him.

Woods’ role will consist of being a distributor for the offense and a defensive stopper on the other end. With his athleticism and quickness, Woods has all the tools to be a headache for opposing guards and has shown his potential on the defensive end in his short career.

Expect Woods to play around 15 minutes a game and put up roughly 5 points and 3 assists per game.

Strengths and something he needs to improve on…

The South Carolina native came into college known for his athletic ability, and though he has had his share of injuries, it looks as though he has regained that once highlight reel athleticism.

Whether it be on the offensive or defensive end, his ability to always have a step up on the opposing backcourt with his athleticism and quickness is something that you can’t teach.

Though it is a small sample size, going from the second half of his freshman season, Woods is a 72 percent free throw shooter and has shown improvement in every attempt.

As talked about earlier, with his quickness and athleticism, he can drive by slower guards and get in the lane with ease. Beating the first line of defense, getting to the final line, usually results in a contested shot and more often than not, turns into a foul and a trip to the free throw line.

Woods definitely needs to improve on his shooting ability. He is shooting an abysmal 29 percent from the field through his first two seasons and is 2-for-15 on three-point attempts.

He doesn’t need to be a knockdown shooter, but Woods does need to be more effective at, not only making shots but more importantly taking better shots.

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Defenses will start to lay off on the defensive end, forcing him to make shots in order to be a productive member on offense. If not, then they are playing 5-on-4, and no matter how skilled the other players are, they won’t beat an extra defender each possession.

Woods, who isn’t a natural point guard, has been extremely turnover prone in his short career.

Turning the ball over at a high rate of 32.6 percent (Based on 100 possessions) when he has the ball, in turn, he only has an assist percentage of 21.9 percent in his career. No matter if he’s starting or coming off the bench, he needs to be much better at limiting the turnovers.

Bold prediction

.Even though I expected Woods to be the starter heading into the season, it looks like White will take that role and Woods will come off the bench again.

The 6-foot-2 guard looks to have his confidence back and that could be a dangerous thing for opposing backcourts. If his health stays and his confidence shows, I could see Woods regaining the starting position, averaging close to 10 points a game and making a strong push for the ACC All-Defense team.

Not only will he settle into the lead guard role, but he will also reinvent himself to the basketball world and become a name that people remember.

Whatever happens this season, Woods needs to step up in a big way in order for this Tar Heels’ team to have a successful season when it’s all said and done.

I would be surprised if Woods had that big of a jump in production, but it wouldn’t surprise me if he had that big of a jump in importance for North Carolina.