GameDay

Tony Woods adds depth, size to Oregon basketball roster

The University of Oregon men’s basketball team added some unexpected depth and size to the 2011-12 roster when former Wake Forest player Tony Woods said he would be joining the Ducks next season.

The 6-foot-11, 245-pounder signed a financial aid agreement with Oregon, which indicates he will be wearing green and yellow next season, despite entertaining interest from numerous other schools including Kentucky, Texas, Louisville, Xavier, Cincinnati and Missouri.

Woods left Wake Forest following an off-court incident with his girlfriend, Courtney Barbour, which resulted in Woods’ arrest following an altercation at the apartment they shared on Wake Forest’s campus.

Woods pleaded guilty to one count of misdemeanor assault on a female and was ordered to complete 100 hours of community service. He also entered an anger management program. Demon Deacons head coach Jeff Bzdelik suspended Woods indefinitely, and eventually granted Woods’ request for a release last October.

Woods was the third-ranked center in the country coming out of high school, and will have two years of eligibility remaining with the Ducks. And despite the altercation and tainted reputation, those close to Woods say he’s anything but what has been portrayed sense the incident.

“People think Tony is some sort of monster,” Barbour said in a Yahoo Sports report. “It’s frustrating to everyone around him because we know that’s not the case.”

Woods’ longtime mentor and AAU coach Norman Parker quickly came to Woods’ defense following the altercation.

“I’ve known Tony since he was 14,” Parker said in the same Yahoo Sports report. “He’s got a good heart. He knows he made a mistake, but he didn’t hurt her. She had a previous injury, and she tried to straighten it all out, but no one listened to her. Once it got in the paper, it was all over. It sounded like this big, mean basketball player had beat up some little girl. It didn’t happen that way.”

On the court, Woods averaged a modest 4.6 points, 3.2 rebounds and 0.8 blocks per game in his sophomore season at Wake Forest. After being granted his release in the fall, Woods gave a verbal commit to the Louisville Cardinals, but reopened his recruitment when the assistant coach who recruited him left for a different job.

“We did our research, and I feel comfortable,” second-year Oregon coach Dana Altman told the Register-Guard. “I was really impressed with him when he made his visit … he handled everything very well.”

Oregon now sits at the NCAA limit with 13 players on scholarship heading into next season. Woods joins Matt Losli and E.J. Singler as Oregon’s trio of juniors.

sports@dailyemerald.com

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