Yesterday evening, reports came out that South Carolina guard -- and former Tar Heel --Seventh Woods has entered the transfer portal.
Have learned that South Carolina basketball guard Seventh Woods has entered the transfer portal. Started 13 games last season after transferring to South Carolina from North Carolina.— Matt Zenitz (@mzenitz) June 1, 2021
If Woods finds a scholarship available in the portal, this will mark his third program in three years. He was unable to find success with his hometown school at a smaller program, so you have to imagine that his next stop will be further down the pecking order.
In light of this development, I found myself thinking about what could have been had Seventh Woods stayed at UNC instead of transferring to South Carolina. When he made the decision to leave the program, I actually thought it was the best move for him personally. After spending two years behind minutes-heavy Joel Berry, then losing the open starting point-guard job to Coby White during his junior year, the writing was on the wall for the aspiring pro point-guard. When Cole Anthony committed to Carolina in what would’ve been Seventh’s senior year, the decision to transfer was academic.
With hindsight being 20/20, what would have happened if Seventh stayed? Clearly, the 2019-20 team was flawed and likely doomed to a comparatively poor record, regardless of whether or not Woods suited up for them. Cole Anthony played heavy minutes during that season (34.6 mpg) and his shortest appearance was the 26 minutes he played against Boston College -- his return-from-injury game!!!
Cole Anthony topped 35 minutes eleven times. Seventh Woods could have provided valuable minutes to spell the star freshman and been more productive than K.J. Smith and Jeremiah Francis, who was also working his way back from injury. During Cole’s absence, UNC went 4-7 in a dismal stretch that sapped any momentum from the Oregon win in the Bahamas (though it did include a hilarious win over NC State in Raleigh). An upgrade in back-up point guard could have made the difference in at least two of those losses that were decided by one possession.
I can’t help but wonder what that team would have looked like with a steady senior hand at the wheel when Cole went down. Woods did not set Chapel Hill on fire like many expected he would when they saw his high school mixtape. More fast than quick, Woods needed space to get downhill in order to attack the rim, he was not explosive off the dribble in a half-court setting. He was not fearless shooting the ball like Coby White was, often hesitating to let it fly when he was open. He also seemed keen to make plays for others rather than feeding himself, perhaps in an attempt to prove his point guard bonafides.
He did have moments of magic that reminded you of his high school athleticism. Check out these highlights from his time at Carolina, and you’ll see some nice spin moves that take him right to the rim:
Woods was also, by all accounts, an excellent teammate. I still get shook thinking about how he consoled Coby White during the ACC Tournament loss to Duke. This was a man that beat him out of the starting point guard spot, but he still had empathy and love for the freshman dynamo after he missed the potential game winner.
Holding out hope for a pro career and taking steps to ensure the required playing time and exposure is something sensible fans can agree was in Seventh’s best interests. His decision to transfer to South Carolina made sense on paper. Knowing what we know now, and realizing that his career may top out at the college level, I really wish that he had stayed to back up Cole Anthony and give the 2019-20 team a chance to avoid a losing record and make the NCAA tournament.