Currently ranked No. 7 in the TCT Top 50, Seventh Woods offers a tantalizing combination of size and athleticism at the point guard spot. Known for his highlight tapes and awe-inspiring jams, Woods is much more than just a dunker, and his all-around has continued to improve over the past 12 months.
The youngest member of the USA U16 National Team, Woods has been playing high school ball since the eighth grade. He attends the Hammond School (SC), where he averaged 14.6 points, 5.8 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 4.5 steals as a middle schooler, before posting averages of 19.3 points, 4.3 assists, 3.5 rebound and 2.7 steals as a freshman last year. This season, Woods is scoring 20 points a game, while logging 3.8 assists, 3.6 rebounds and 4.0 steals per contest.
There are a lot of holes in his game, but Woods has the versatility and explosive athleticism to be a unique prospect down the road. He’s got a lot of Russell Westbrook in him, and with an improved jumper and heightened awareness on D, Woods could end his high school career as a top 5 recruit.
HSOT Holiday Invitational - 12/28/13
Seventh Woods is a dynamic talent stuck on an awful team. Constantly double-teamed and frequently triple-teamed, Woods flashed the raw athleticism and premier playmaking ability that has turned his highlight films into must-see-TV. However, the game was over at halftime, and Woods frequently sulked and berated teammates for missed opportunities and blown assignments. Offensively, Woods is known for his scoring ability, but he is also a skilled passer, displaying impeccable vision and solid decision making with the ball in his hands. He gets the majority of his points at the rim, but he also has a consistent mid-range game with range out to 16-feet.
What you don’t see in the Youtube videos of Woods’ dunks are his flaws. His jumper is a little flat, he struggles to handle with his off-hand, and he was consistently caught cheating on the defensive end. Granted, he is forced to make plays all over the floor due to the complete lack of talent on the Hammond roster, but by cheating and over-helping on the defensive end, Woods only made it worse. Transferring to a powerhouse program could be the answer to his problems. A great coach and an improved supporting cast would aid Woods’ transition to the point guard position, and help him to fine-tune his shot mechanics. At this point in his development, Woods is a top-10 talent with the potential to be the top point guard prospect in his class.
Hammond School (SC) vs. Athens Christian (GA) – 12/21/13
Seventh Woods is an elite athlete with great size at the 1, and a blossoming all-around game. He’s quick on the ball, has a projectable frame, and a penchant for highlight plays. In one sequence, Woods got a chase down block in transition, brought the ball up the floor, and drained a pull-up three from college range. He displayed a quick first step, good body control in the lane, and soft touch at the rim.
The game against Athens Christian was originally billed as one of the best matchups at the entire event. Unfortunately, Athens’ PG William Jackson, a Top 75 junior currently committed to UConn, sat out with an injury. Hammond managed just 11 points in the first half, with Seventh Woods scoring 3 points on 1-5 shooting from the field, including a 1-4 mark from beyond the arc. He took over in the second half, scoring 7 consecutive points for Hammond in the first 5 minutes, finishing with 16 points on 7-14 shooting, and a 28.5 percent clip from deep.
His team wasn’t knocking down shots, but Woods was solid in the role of facilitator, making good decisions with the rock and finding teammates in stride. He consistently made the extra pass, quickly locating a favorable matchup and delivering the ball on point. Defensively, Woods flashed the tools to be a high-level defender. He showed excellent lateral quickness, the length to disrupt passing lanes, as well as the anticipation to reach in and poke the ball loose.
One of his largest areas of weakness is shot selection. He likes to get down the floor and take a shot before the D is set. It looks good when it goes in, but on a miss, Woods has just turned a scoring chance into a 5-second, 1-shot possession. In the early going, Woods had a tough time creating offense against Athens Christian’s zone. He telegraphed a couple passes, and struggled to keep the defense honest with his perimeter shooting, which remains a major question mark. He went 2-7 from deep, draining one from NBA-range, and air-balling a pair of 22-footers.
After getting a third look at Woods during the HSOT Holiday Invitational, his basketball IQ and decision making were each bumped up a grade, giving him an overall grade of 91, which places him in the Top 10 and atop the point guard rankings. His biggest strengths are his athleticism, finishing ability and quickness at the point guard position. He’s got a tendency to cheat on the defensive end, but he is a committed defender with good anticipation and the quickness to stay with anybody. As he adds strength, Woods could be a dynamic two-way player who is always looking to turn a deflection into an easy bucket at the other end.
The most glaring weakness of Woods’ is his consistency from the perimeter, and he’s a reliable jumper away from placing himself among the top players in his class. With a slightly elevated release point and more lift on his shot, Woods can improve his mechanics, but that’ll come in time. The real problem is his ability to create high-percentage looks from deep. He likes to pull-up off the rhythm dribble in transition, but in the half-court set, he constantly settles for contested threes outside of 22-feet.
He’s just a sophomore, so it should come as no surprise that Woods needs to work on his game. He’s the type of player whose athleticism casts a shadow on the rest of his skill-set, yet Woods’ all-around ability is beginning to catch up. The most underrated area of his game is his vision and passing ability. Everytime I’ve seen Woods, I’ve been blown away by his progression as a point guard. He can get a little too fancy, but he sees the floor well, locates his passes, and throws an absolute dart. With added consistency on his shot and continued development, Woods has the explosive athleticism, scoring ability and defensive potential to rival Harry Giles for the top spot in the class of 2016.
Reminds Me Of:
G Russell Westbrook (UCLA)
As high school prospects, Seventh Woods and Russell Westbrook couldn’t be any different. Woods has been on the national radar since his freshman year mixtape dropped, whereas, Westbrook signed with UCLA as an undervalued 3-star recruit, and was a complete afterthought in the Bruins’ 2006 recruiting class. As an NBA player, Westbrook has built his reputation through his vertical and the wide array of dunks in his arsenal, however, he wasn’t even able to dunk until his senior year in high school. After a forgettable freshman year at UCLA in which he averaged just 9 minutes a game, Westbrook exploded onto the scene as a sophomore, and turned his breakout year into a Top 5 selection in the 2008 NBA Draft.
The comparison being made is between Woods and the player Westbrook has become, not the prospect he was. Woods’ bounce is what makes him so similar to Westbrook. They share the same kind of fast-twitch athleticism with explosive leaping ability, elongated hang-time, and solid length at the PG position. Their 40+ inch verticals allow them to get up to the next level and throw it down. Both players have a knack for creating off the dribble and getting into the paint. Plus, long-range shooting is a mutual weakness. Westbrook is a little quicker than Woods, while Woods has had an easier time transitioning to point guard. With a couple years of development, Woods has the potential to get to Westbrook’s level and become a top 10 player in the NBA.
Seventh holds offers from every major school in the Carolinas, with Duke as the lone exception. A lot of recruiting experts see Woods’ recruitment as a two-horse race between Duke and it’s crosstown rival, however, I think that he’s North Carolina’s to lose. Roy Williams and the UNC Tar Heels have been going hard after the Columbia, SC native, and they’ve had him on campus multiple times this year. His recruitment will begin to round into shape over the next year, but at this point in time, I’ve got Woods slated to join Harry Giles in UNC’s 2016 recruiting class.