College Sports

Frank Martin lays out plan for Seventh Woods as a Gamecock, answers waiver question

A YouTube star at 14, Seventh Woods won’t be seen much at 21.

That’s by design.

South Carolina coach Frank Martin confirmed Wednesday that Woods, the Gamecocks’ high-profile summer addition, won’t apply for a waiver to play next season. The North Carolina transfer will sit, per NCAA rules, and become eligible as a redshirt senior in 2020-21.

Such news was a consistent part of Martin’s pitch to Woods since the former Hammond star left UNC in April.

“Let’s redshirt, kind of get out of that spotlight for a minute,” Martin said, relaying a conversation he had with the 6-foot-1 guard. “Take a deep breath, regain, I guess the kids call it, his swag, which made him pretty darn good. And then the most important part, let’s he and I get to know each other as a player and a coach.

“We got to know each other as people during the recruiting process. Let’s get to know each other as a player and a coach, so when he’s eligible to go, he can maximize who he is.”

As has been well-documented, Woods, the one-time blue chip recruit, chose the Tar Heels over the Gamecocks in November 2015. He averaged 1.8 points and 1.5 assists in three seasons with UNC, sitting behind stars Joel Berry and Coby White.

Michigan and Gonzaga pursued Woods before he committed to USC as a walk-on. (The Gamecocks didn’t have a scholarship available after grad transfer Micaiah Henry joined May 17.)

“My conversations with him throughout the whole recruiting process was (to) sit out,” Martin said. “He’s been under a microscope since he was 13 years old. I don’t know how he’s done it and kept his sanity. I really don’t. ... Seventh has been under that microscope since he was 13. As a 14-year-old, every time he dribbled, every gym was sold out and every critic was out there criticizing everything he did wrong.

“I have no idea that that young man has been able to keep the class that he lives life with under those circumstances. I wouldn’t have done it. I would have insulted somebody along the way.”

Woods will join a potentially crowded backcourt in 2020-21 as A.J. Lawson (if he doesn’t leave early for the NBA), T.J. Moss, Trae Hannibal and Jair Bolden could all be competing for point guard reps.

Andrew Ramspacher has been covering college athletics since 2010, serving as The State’s USC men’s basketball beat writer since October 2017. His work has been recognized by the Associated Press Sports Editors, Virginia Press Association and West Virginia Press Association. At a program-listed 5-foot-10, he’s always been destined to write about the game. Not play it.
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