Darrick Wood - the 6'4" slashing guard from Bridgton Academy - has chosen to his junior college destination for next year, per Adam Zagoria.
Darrick Wood had been targeted by St. John's from last summer, when he ran with the Playaz Club AAU team next to the coveted Kyle Anderson, the focus of many colleges' attention. (If you don't remember, UCLA won that recruiting battle.)
Wood was, and is, a solid high major prospect in his own right; Darrick Wood's stats and evaluation from Nike EYBL/ summer league play show that he does compare to Jeremy Lamb - a long, lanky shooter who can get shots up from mid range or distance, but doesn't draw fouls - much like current combo guard Phil Greene.
But having gotten to the process of improving his grades late in his high school career, it seems that we now know his fate.
How will this affect St. John's? With only one scholarship slot available, could Darrick Wood return to the Johnnies if he can get eligible in a year? Where would he fit on the Red Storm?
More, below the fold.
Coach Lavin's late recruiting push netted a diverse set of complementary players to the guards and wings returning from last season; Darrick Wood's talents would be useful this year, but not as essential as they seemed back in January. Still, he is a guard with potential.
He had attended T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria; then Wood moved on to the controversial NIA Prep. NIA's college preparatory classes were not accepted by the NCAA Clearinghouse, leaving a number of players ineligible last year. To try and recover from a likely academic setback, Wood moved on to the prep team at Bridgton Academy to play with Amir Garrett after he heard about the program from the St. John's coaches.
The move to prep school wasn't just to boost the core course GPA to meet NCAA requirements. Wood also needed to improve his game and his body. Even when he committed to St. John's basketball last August, Wood's spindly size (170 pounds at 6'4") indicated that he'd need to put on some weight; and his numbers indicated that he needed to work on his consistency. A bouncy, long guard fits what Steve Lavin was trying to do with pressure defense and athletes who can create their own shot and be deadly in transition.
Wood decommitted in January, as Lavin was unable to coach while recovering from his prostate cancer surgery. The decommit may have had to do with his academic status - he was still no lock to qualify.
But after looking around at the NCAA landscape, the talented young roster and dynamic coaching staff attracted the guard back to St. John's, and Darrick Wood recommitted.
Last week, we learned that Wood was considering junior college options.
And here we are.
For the Johnnies, Wood will likely keep his ears open for other offers as he improves his game and body on the Junior College level. Assuming D`Angelo Harrison improves the aspects of his game he needs to gain the rapt attentions of NBA scouts, and assuming at least one other player goes pro early, there will actually be a lot of playing time available in two years, maybe even in one. Harrison is the only true scoring guard on the Johnnies roster; Greene doesn't have the consistency, and neither Marco Bourgault nor Felix Balamou project to be a high-impact scorer yet.
If he's eligible next year, a roster spot with St. John's will likely be dependent on a player leaving. The team will have more important holes to fill with God`sgift Achiuwa leaving; some player needs to be a long-term scoring threat in the paint, something that may be lacking on this year's squad.
Can Darrick Wood be a D`Angelo/ or Sir`Dom/ or Amir replacement in two years?
Possibly. Right now, besides Isaiah Whitehead, St. John's isn't associated with any of the top scoring guards of 2014 or 2015. That can quickly changes, and all staffs are reaching out to talented players in anticipation of open roster spots; but right now, the focus is on star forwards like Jermaine Lawrence in 2013 or Chris McCullough in 2014 (even if McCullough wants to drag the other two to Syracuse with him right now).
Good luck to Darrick Wood, and may he make the most of his JuCo opportunity.