After doing what he needed to do from a fitness standpoint to earn a spot in Donnie Tyndall’s rotation, Tennessee sophomore center Dominic Woodson took a step back in recent weeks. Woodson, who played at Memphis last year before transferring to Tennessee, sat out the team’s 65-64 win over Kansas State due to a need to focus on his academics and wasn’t expected to play against No. 15 Butler on Sunday.
According to an announcement from the school Woodson has played his final game at Tennessee, as he’s decided to transfer.
“Dominic has informed me that he wants to transfer to a school where he can have a larger role on the basketball court,” Tyndall said in the release announcing the move. “We appreciate Dom’s contributions and wish him well in his future endeavors.”
Woodson averaged 3.5 points and 2.0 rebounds in 12 minutes of action per game this season. Tennessee was short on interior depth with Woodson in the fold, and that’s something Tyndall and his staff have worked to account for. Armani Moore (6.7 rpg) and Jabari McGhee (4.3) are two of the team’s top three rebounders, with versatile senior guard second with an average of 4.5 rebounds per game, and Willie Carmichael has also factored into the front court rotation.
Where Woodson’s lands next remains to be seen, but his young college career has been an eventful one even with the limited production. Woodson originally committed to Baylor before winding up at Memphis, and his next school will be the third he’s played for.
Tennessee will be without big man Dominic Woodson for another week as the 6-foot-10, 280-pound center will focus on academics some more after missing the previous week.
Head coach Donnie Tyndall spoke to Ben Fredricksen of Knox News and the coach spoke about Woodson’s status.
“He finishes up finals I believe on Thursday,” Tyndall said. “And then we will have a better feel for where everything stands at that time.”
Tyndall did not comment on whether Woodson would be able to play on Saturday when the Volunteers host No. 15 Butler. It’s nice to see that the sophomore has to focus on academics, but we’ll see if he ends up sitting out the Butler game like he did in Tennessee’s close win over Kansas State.
Woodson has been excused from team activities and averages 3.5 points and 2 rebounds per game in 12 minutes per game so far this season. The Memphis transfer hasn’t been as big of an impact as anticipated, but he remains talented with great natural size.
Dominic Woodson’s path into Donnie Tyndall’s rotation was one that didn’t lack for challenges upon his joining the Tennessee program. Not only did Woodson have to receive a waiver from the NCAA that would allow him to play immediately, but he also had to lose enough weight to get into the physical condition Tyndall demanded of him.
Woodson was able to reach the benchmarks set in front of him, playing 20 minutes in the Volunteers’ season-opening loss to VCU Friday night. Unfortunately Woodson suffered a left hand injury during practice on Sunday, and according to Ben Frederickson of the Knoxville News-Sentinel the 6-foot-10 forward will miss the team’s home opener against Texas Southern Thursday night.
Against VCU, Woodson accounted for four points, five rebounds, two steals and a blocked shot. Armani Moore and Derek Reese started in the front court for Tennessee Friday night, producing a combined 12 points and 13 rebounds. Jabari McGee played 12 minutes off the bench, accounting for seven points and six rebounds before fouling out.
With Woodson sidelined, one would expect some more playing time for McGee (provided he stays out of foul trouble) against Texas Southern. That could also be the case for Willie Carmichael, who played just four minutes against VCU.
With practices scheduled to begin Friday, one of the many questions hovering over the Tennessee Volunteers was the status of Memphis transfer center Dominic Woodson. Woodson played sparingly as a freshman at Memphis, ultimately leaving the program this summer and landing at Tennessee. The question: whether or not Woodson’s request for a run-off waiver that would result in immediate eligibility would be granted.
Thursday afternoon head coach Donnie Tyndall announced that the 6-foot-10 Woodson’s request was granted, meaning that he’s eligible to play in games this season for the Volunteers.
The ability to use Woodson in games is a needed boost for a team that doesn’t have much in the way of size in its front court. Tennessee has just one other player as tall as Woodson, freshman Tariq Owens, and he’s listed as weighing just 205 pounds on the team’s official roster. But even with this good news for Tennessee, it should be noted that Tyndall maintained his stance that Woodson still has work to do in order to grab a spot in the rotation.
Woodson’s listed at 295 currently, and while he’s certainly made strides when it comes to his physique and stamina there’s still work to be done in the eyes of his head coach. Having already begun the process of working towards the goal set in front of him by Tyndall, knowing that he’ll be able to play this season should give Woodson an additional boost in the weeks leading up to the start of the season.
And if that occurs, the Volunteers will benefit from having a player of Woodson’s skill level on the court.
A couple weeks after it was announced that Dominic Woodson, who played sparingly last season at Memphis, joined the Tennessee program head coach Donnie Tyndall made it known that the 6-foot-10 center needed to lose weight if he wanted to see the court. In early September Woodson weighed 295 pounds according to Ben Frederickson of the Knoxville News-Sentinel, with Tyndall wanting his new addition to play at 270.
Reach that weight, and if the NCAA grants Woodson’s request for a run-off waiver that would allow him to play immediately, and the former five-star prospect would figure prominently in the Volunteers’ plans in 2014-15. Fail to do so and Woodson wouldn’t get to play regardless of the outcome of his waiver request, with Tyndall vowing to redshirt him if that were the case.
“The decision won’t be made for about a month,” Tyndall said before the Donnie Tyndall Classic at Williams Creek golf course. “If he doesn’t lose the weight and get in shape, we will redshirt him. If he can somehow get himself in shape, and that’s part of our job, but I’m not a miracle worker. He has to do his part. If he does his part and gets to where he needs to be, then we will plan to play him. Otherwise, it would be a waste of a year if his conditioning doesn’t improve.”
Friday afternoon Tennessee strength and conditioning coach Todd Moyer sent out a tweet of Woodson working hard in the weight room, also stating that Woodson has lost 20 pounds in five weeks.
The Volunteers don’t have much experience in the front court this season, with the burly tandem of Jarnell Stokes and Jeronne Maymon both having moved on after helping lead Tennessee to the Sweet 16 in 2013-14. Their most experienced returnee amongst the forwards is junior small forward Armani Moore, who started 16 games and averaged 2.4 points per contest last season.
With that being the case the Volunteers can certainly use Woodson, and despite the issues that plagued him during his lone season at Memphis he’s a talented player who can be productive when focused. And while the program waits for an answer regarding his request for the run-off waiver, Woodson’s apparently worked to be prepared to help Tennessee should the request be granted.
When it was announced last week that 6-foot-10 center Dominic Woodson would be leaving the Memphis program, one report broached the possibility of the Huntington Prep product attending junior college for a year and then rejoining Josh Pastner’s program. However that’s unlikely to happen, with multiple outlets reporting on Wednesday that Woodson has enrolled at Tennessee.
Murmurs of Woodson joining Donnie Tyndall’s program began Wednesday afternoon, with a picture of a Dominic Woodson in the school database for the upcoming semester being sent out on Twitter. However with there being no photo, there was no guarantee that this was indeed the same person who played at Memphis last year.
Ultimately Woodson’s enrollment was confirmed, with Woodson expected to be in classes when they begin on Thursday. On Friday, the school announced that Woodson has enrolled and is now an official member of the basketball program.
“Dominic certainly adds some physicality and size to our frontline,” Tyndall said in the release. “He has great upside. If he continues to improve his body and conditioning, he’ll have a chance to be a very good player at this level.”
Another issue regarding Woodson is the question of whether or not he would be able to receive an immediate eligibility waiver. If that were to occur, Woodson (2.5 ppg, 1.9 rpg as a freshman at Memphis) would give the Volunteers a needed boost with regards to both depth and size in the front court. Tennessee was hoping that FGCU transfer Eric McKnight would receive a graduate waiver but the SEC denied their request, leaving Tyndall and his staff in need of another body in the front court.
But while Woodson was regarded as a Top 100 talent coming out of high school, there were maturity issues that stunted his on-court development while at Memphis. Pastner suspended Woodson for three games last season due to the player’s frequent use of foul language, and he also remained on campus during the NCAA tournament instead of traveling to Raleigh with the team.
If Woodson steps onto the floor with a solid attitude and in good physical condition, he can help Tennessee inside. The question is whether or not his departure from Memphis provides Woodson with the motivational boost needed to take that step.