The Daily Gamecock

Back home in Columbia, Seventh Woods looks to make an impact

Redshirt senior Seventh Woods dribbling the ball in the game against Tulsa.
Redshirt senior Seventh Woods dribbling the ball in the game against Tulsa.

Redshirt senior point guard Seventh Woods is eligible to play this season after transferring from the University of North Carolina and sitting out a year. While he might be a new face to the team, he certainly isn’t a new face to Columbia.

Woods grew up in the Columbia area and attended Hammond School, where he was a high school basketball phenom. Mark McClam, former head coach of the Hammond men's basketball team, said he thought Woods was a “Martian” the first time he met him and he “couldn't believe the athletic ability of him at such an early age.”

After his freshman year of high school, Woods went viral. YouTube channel Hoopmixtape posted a highlight video of Woods that has over 16 million views, the most of any video the channel has posted in its 14-year existence. 

McClam said after the video’s initial release on YouTube, talk show hosts Ellen DeGeneres and Jimmy Kimmel invited Woods onto their shows.

Woods said the newfound fame “was different, of course” and that since he’s “a quiet ... laid-back person,” he “didn't really like all the attention.” Woods said he eventually accepted it because it was part of everything he had worked for.

After the video catapulted Woods from a “quasi-local legend” to the national stage, McClam said “for the next three years, we felt like we were the Beatles traveling to other people's gyms.” Selling out high school gyms everywhere they went, it wasn’t abnormal for McClam to receive calls from rival coaches that said, “Hey, man, I just want you to know the gym's sold out; we hadn't sold out in five years.”

After an award-winning high school career, including a state championship in 2015, it was time for Woods to decide on a college. As a four-star recruit and the No. 1 recruit in the state of South Carolina, he had plenty of options. It ultimately came down to two schools: UNC and South Carolina.

Woods said he didn't make his decision on where to attend until the night before he committed.

"I was really torn between [South Carolina] and North Carolina," Woods said.

He said it was a tough decision to "say no to the hometown" and ultimately commit to North Carolina.

When Woods first arrived to UNC, he said he felt "lost" after dealing with an early knee injury. Over his three years in Chapel Hill, Woods only started for the Tar Heels once and averaged 1.8 points per game while playing 8.7 minutes per game. With Woods not exactly living up to expectations during his three years at UNC, many labeled him a bust.

“Some people would say I haven't reached my potential," Woods said.

According to Woods, he has "another year to show what [he] can do.”

South Carolina head basketball coach Frank Martin "was the first one to reach out to me [once he] heard I was transferring," Woods said. He said Martin let him redshirt "to get the attention off me.”

Woods transferred to South Carolina after his junior year at UNC.

"Things got a little shaky at Chapel Hill, and I felt like I just needed a fresh start," he said.

Despite this, Woods said his time at UNC was "nothing short of amazing."

On John Rothstein's "College Hoops Today," Martin said in October that Woods "has got the ability to make winning plays" and that "he brings a dynamic we didn’t have on our team."

The Gamecocks have only played two games so far this season, but Woods has already averaged 13 minutes and 4 points per game. Woods said his biggest goal this year is to be a leader after sitting out and learning the South Carolina system during his redshirt year.

"Me being the oldest guy on the team; just want to lead these guys. Me having the most experience, just want to be a vocal leader," Woods said.


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