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UNC basketball’s freshman preview: Seventh Woods

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Getting to know one of the most exciting players to put on Carolina blue this upcoming year.

Duke v North Carolina

Basketball is still a ways away (96 days to be exact, but who’s counting) and there are some fresh faces to the UNC program that everyone should get to know. So we thought we’d take a better look and familiarize everyone with the three newest players to the Tar Heel family. This week we are going to start the introduction process with someone who may not need to be introduced all that much. I am talking about freshman shooting guard, Seventh Woods.

Everything about this kid is unique, from his name, Seventh was named after the bible verse from Genesis 2:3, “So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work he had done in creation,” to his long list of accomplishments and accolades. Woods burst onto the basketball scene when he was an eighth grader playing on the varsity squad, due to his 14.5 million-viewed YouTube mixtape.

As a sophomore, Woods was named South Carolina Gatorade Player of the Year. That same year, Woods was the youngest player to make the USA U-16 team (at the age of 14), starting every game for the gold medal winning squad. Seventh capped off his sophomore year by winning ESPN’s dunk of the year, over LeBron James.

As a junior, Woods battled a wrist injury that decreased his productivity and limited his impact in games. As a senior, Seventh was named Mr. Basketball in the state of South Carolina, despite fighting through a knee injury the majority of the season.

Seventh Woods has been a phenom for quite some time now, which is what happens when you’re dunking at the age of 11. When he was younger, youth leagues established a “Seventh Woods Rule” that was put in place to prevent players such as Woods from scoring over 20 points per game. Woods would quickly score 20 points, and then stop shooting the rest of the game. This in turn helped him develop his team-first mentality and helped him grow in his ability to create for his teammates.

Due to his injuries, Woods fell in the recruiting ranks, going from a bona fide five-star prospect to a four-star/five-star tweener. But enough about stats and rankings. What does Seventh Woods bring to the table besides a lot of hype and the most viewed high school basketball mixtape on YouTube?

Seventh Woods will bring a well-rounded academic student to the table, first. Instead of going to a public high school in South Carolina where the average graduation rate is 66%, Woods attended Hammond, a private school where every graduate attends a four-year college. This says a lot about how important the role of academics is to him, and why he chose UNC over South Carolina (burn).

Aside from this, Seventh Woods is perfect for Roy Williams’s system. He can get out into transition and finish extremely well around the hoop. He is a team-first superstar with great character and loves getting his teammates involved, à la LeBron James. What is undervalued about him is his defense. He does a really good job at locking on and shutting down opposing players.

What really stands out most about Seventh Woods is his athleticism. Seventh brings an absurd amount of athleticism to an already athletic UNC roster. Writers and scouts will always describe a player as “athletic,” and rightfully so, because you can’t be unathletic and play college basketball. But Woods brings a second gear of athleticism; he brings a level of athleticism that makes this quality about him stand out amongst his peers.

He possesses a Russell Westbrook-like athletic gene. That would be his best comparison, Tar Heel fans. Not only because of his speed and ability to gash through defenses and finish at the hole, but also because of his ability to defend. I’m talking Russ in college defense. In college, Westbrook was a defensive nightmare, winning Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year in 2008. And that is what Woods could be, a two-way star guard.

You notice him on the court just because what he does athletically stands out so much. He’s a freak athlete that hasn’t been seen at North Carolina since the Vince Carter days. Want one of those fabled Bo Jackson-esque stories? He once got a concussion in a high school game because he hit his freaking head on the rim while blocking a shot. Listen, I’m not saying he’s VC, but his athleticism definitely rivals that. Speaking of his athleticism in the same breath as Vinsanity is not blasphemy, the kid is that gifted.

Seventh Woods is the freakiest athlete among freak athletes. Thank goodness he has such a unique name, because he will be one name to remember from the class of 2016. Look out for Seventh Woods; he will be a special player.