The 5-foot-11 junior does this every day, at least once, when a free period allows him to escape the pressures of growing up, and simply polish his game. Some days he puts up 500 jumpers. Or he’ll sneak a handful of pull-up jump shots and threes into a tight window. Or he’ll walk to the foul line and take free throws until his schedule resumes.
The goal is to never settle, even as his reputation starts to swell.
“I feel like I have been overlooked, but I’m starting to get the recognition,” Wood said. “But my main thing is even though I get recognition, I try not to think about that as much. I just want to be calm and just lose basketball. I don’t want to be that person everybody is interested in, but I fall off just because I started listening too much to the outside noise.”
Wood is averaging 10.2 points per game while quarterbacking the No. 2 Cadets’ (22-6, 14-4 Washington Catholic Athletic Conference) balanced offense. He told the Post that he currently has scholarship offers from Iowa, Penn State, Old Dominion, Rice, Towson, Manhattan and St. Joseph’s. He has also received “heavy interest” from Purdue, Providence, Cincinnati and George Mason, and plans to shave this list after his AAU season with Team Takeover.
He views himself as a pass-first point guard with a scorer’s touch — like when he scored a season-high 22 points and dished out seven assists in a win over O’Connell on Friday — and thinks he would fit best in a free-flowing college offense. Wood sees that in Ed Cooley’s system at Providence, and he also likes the freedom Virginia guard London Perrantes gets while orchestrating the Cavaliers’ attack. His main priorities are to play somewhere right away and go to a school that offers a clear “plan B” for him in terms of a career path, should basketball not work out long-term.
But he still pictures himself on the sport’s biggest stages.
“My dream is to play at an ACC, Big Ten-type of school,” Wood said. “Because I like the environment that those games bring.”
Wood mimics parts of his game after professional point guards, and is naturally drawn to some better-known underdogs.
He will see Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas, perpetually the smallest player on the court at 5-feet-9, knife into the lane like a 6-foot-7 scoring machine. He will see Trailblazers guard Damian Lillard, overlooked since enrolling at Weber State, slice up defenses with his pull-up jumper. He will see Wizards guard John Wall, tethered to outsize expectations since the start of his career, manipulate action with deft court vision and warped speed.
And then he will glimpse himself, launching one more shot before heading back to class.
“Whenever I get time, I want to work on my jumper, work on something,” Wood said. “You can always be better and you can always find ways to recreate parts of yourself and your game. I’ll always be doing that.”
NUMBER CRUNCH: 9
Wise point guard Brent Pegram has tallied five or more assists in nine straight games. The No. 1 Pumas (17-0) have top-flight scorers in Michael Speight (17.8 points per game), Brandon Howell (14.1) and Darron Barnes (13.1), and Pegram has been effectively distributing the ball all season. He collected 17 total assists in Wise’s two wins last week and has also scored in double-figures in nine consecutive contests.
- Virginia boys’ basketball region playoff previews
- Virginia girls’ basketball region playoff previews
- Patuxent’s Hayley Jackson shatters meet record in 1,600 at Maryland 1A/2A track championships
- Montgomery basketball notebook: Sherwood senior Amanda Allen scores 48 in victory
- Southern Maryland basketball notebook: Undersized Calvert team has made a run to close out season
- Howard/Anne Arundel basketball notebook: Old Mill’s Terrell is living out a shared childhood dream
- Prince George’s basketball notebook: Largo wants to end the season with a celebration. Again.
Here are the top plays from the last week in Virginia, Maryland and D.C. basketball.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR:
Dan Roth will be at the Maryland 3A/4A track and field championships and will be providing updates on Twitter @ByDanRoth. Jacob Bogage, on Twitter @jacobbogage, will be on hand for No. 3 Rock Creek Christian boys at National Christian at 7 p.m. I will be covering the No. 5 Rock Creek Christian girls’ visit to No. 3 National Christian, also a 7 p.m. tip, and will have updates @dougherty_jesse.