College Sports

UNC transfer Seventh Woods focuses in on 3 schools. USC is one of them

Seventh Woods is getting closer to picking a new school to finish his college basketball career.

According to the Columbia native and former Hammond standout, three schools have risen to the top of his list, and one of them is the hometown Gamecocks.

In addition to South Carolina, he also is considering Gonzaga and Michigan, which just hired former Fab Five member Juwan Howard last week.

“Those are my top three right now. If someone was to contact me and if it was a good decision for me to go up there, I definitely would look into it,” Woods told The State Tuesday after a 90-minute workout with trainer Marseilles Brown. “Me personally, I want to give it another week or two and look at the pros and cons and go from there.”

Woods doubts he will take any visits because he did that the first time around when he was at Hammond. He eventually picked UNC but announced in April he was leaving the program.

A member of the Tar Heels’ 2017 national championship team, Woods played in 94 games at UNC, averaging 1.5 points a game.

Woods has a connection with all three programs he is considering. The Gamecocks were one of his original final three choices, along with Georgetown, coming out of Hammond. USC doesn’t have an open scholarship for next year unless someone decides to leave. On Tuesday, A.J. Lawson announced he was coming back to to South Carolina after putting his name in the NBA Draft.

Woods won’t be able to play next year at his school of choice because of NCAA transfer rules. If no scholarship spot opens up, walking on is a possibility.

”Carolina it is home. I am very familiar with the faces around there and coach Frank (Martin) recruited me,” Woods said of the Gamecocks. “They have different assistant staff, but coach Frank, we built a good relationship when he recruited me a few years back.”

Woods has a history with Gonzaga. He’s played against the Bulldogs twice in his college career, including the 2017 national title game.

Last season, he scored a career-high 14 points in the 103-90 win over Gonzaga on Dec. 15. The biggest drawback is that Gonzaga is 2,600 miles away from Columbia.

“Gonzaga ... had one of my best college games ever against them. They realize what they can do and what I’m capable of and what I can do to bring to the team,” Woods said. “They know what kind of player they will be getting out of me.”

Michigan is the newest school in the mix. He knows of Juwan Howard and met his nephew at a John Lucas Camp several years back.

“He’s kind of knew about me for a long time and just him reaching out was big,” Woods said of Howard.

Wherever Woods goes, he feels he can make a difference and has a lot to offer a program, both on and off the court.

“Best thing I could bring to the team is my speed,” Woods said. “Being on a national championship team, I know what it takes to win and how to lead younger guys. ... I think I could bring a lot to a program.

“I want to make the best decision for me. Wherever my heart feels, wherever my gut feels, I’m going to go.”