No matter what school landed former Wake Forest center Tony Woods this summer, the immediate question was always going to be the same: Was it a smart gamble to sign a kid ten months removed from assaulting his girlfriend in front of his eight-month-old child?
Whereas some of the college hoops juggernauts who considered taking a chance on Woods don't need to take risks on kids with questionable character to attract top talent, it's not as easy for Oregon to secure a former five-star recruit. Yes, the Ducks have a sparkling new arena and some momentum under second-year coach Dana Altman, but elite recruits like Malik Hairston, Michael Dunigan or Jabari Brown typically have been a rarity, not the norm.
Furthermore, the 6-foot-11, 250-pound Woods is eligible immediately and fills a void in the paint for Oregon, which graduated leading scorer Joevan Catron. There had been talk 6-foot-7 Louisiana Tech transfer Olu Ashaolu would have to be the primary interior threat for the Ducks, an unnerving notion for Oregon considering Ashaolu has yet to prove he can duplicate his previous numbers against major-conference competition.
Woods certainly has the size and strength to anchor the Oregon frontcourt, but he never lived up to his high school press clippings at Wake Forest. He averaged a modest 4.6 points and 3.2 rebounds as a sophomore, hardly numbers that portend future stardom at Oregon.
The bottom line is that the signing of Woods could go any number of ways. He could avoid further trouble, blossom as a player and become a cornerstone of the Ducks' rebuilding process. He could make another inexcusable off-the-court decision and get sent packing. Or he could simply not make a sufficient contribution on the floor to be worthy of all the attention sure to come his way.
That's a foolish gamble for a Kentucky or Louisville to take. For Oregon, maybe it's worth rolling the dice.