Seventh Woods At U19 Training Camp On Gold-Winning Anniversary
One of 21 players taking part in the 2015 USA Basketball Men's U19 World Championship Team training camp, Seventh Woods is a 6-foot-1 guard from Columbia, South Carolina, who is competing for his second chance at a gold medal with USA Basketball. His first came in 2013 at the FIBA Americas U16 Championship.
As Woods competes for a roster spot in Colorado Springs, Colorado, this weekend, it just so happens that this year’s USA U16 National Team is competing for a fourth-straight gold medal in Argentina.“I haven’t watched them in their competition, but that experience is something I share with them,” Woods explained.
At the 2013 FIBA Americas U16 Championship in Maldonado, Uruguay, Woods dished out a team-high 4.4 assist per game to help the USA post a perfect 5-0 record. He said he vividly recalls the experience, particularly the final game against Argentina, which was a 94-48 U.S. victory.
“That was the fist thing I woke up to, seeing my name on the roster,” Woods said of his journey with USA Basketball in 2013. “It was a great experience. I remember the traveling. I remember the last game. It was something special. We won a gold medal. It is a memory I will never forget as I keep playing basketball. It was probably my biggest moment in basketball, playing for USA Basketball.
“It was a tough first half (against Argentina), but the second half we pulled out a big lead. It was a great experience with a bunch of people I now call my brothers.”
Those experiences are now memories as Woods takes part in the 2015 USA Men’s U19 Word Championship Team training camp, though he certainly could reminisce with his 2013 USA U16 teammates that have joined him at training camp, including Terrance Ferguson (Homeschooled/Dallas, Texas), Harry Giles (Wesleyan Christian Academy/Flower Mound, Texas), Josh Jackson (Prolific Prep/Southfield, Michigan) and Jayson Tatum (Chaminade College Prep/St. Louis, Missouri).
After Woods won gold in 2013, he was injured and unable to try out for the 2014 USA Basketball Men’s U17 World Championship Team.
“Yeah, that is my motivation this weekend,” Woods said of his first gold medal. “That is a feeling I have been chasing since then. I was not able to compete, but this year I am trying to finish up strong to hopefully get another chance to compete for another gold medal.”
In the same way that he was the youngest member of the 2013 FIBA Americas U16 team, Woods is the sole 16-year old at training camp this weekend.
“Honestly, I have gotten use to it. I have been the youngest, every time I have came out here. It is not overwhelming anymore. I just have to come out here to perform.”
For Woods, training for his best performance began months ago.
“I prepared with a lot of running to get used to the altitude,” Woods said. “But playing my game, picking my spot and doing what I do best will help me contribute to the team. If I can contribute to the team, I will make the team.
As a junior at Hammond School in South Carolina, in 2014-15, Woods contributed 16.3 points, 3.7 assists, 3.5 rebounds and 3.6 steals per game.
“My game is probably just attacking on the offense with making open shots, being aggressive on the defense and getting my team involved as much as possible.”
According to Woods, a combination of toughness and motivation will result in his name being on another USA Basketball roster, just one day removed from his two-year anniversary of winning the USA’s third consecutive FIBA Americas U16 Championship.
“It would be an honor. It is an honor to be here, but to make the team a U19 team as a 16-year old would be an whole other honor.”