UK Recruiting

Tony Woods tries to put incident behind him

Former Wake Forest big man Tony Woods visited Kentucky earlier this month as he looked to move past the publicity of an off-court incident and resume his college basketball career.

Mike Maynard, the director of player development for the Georgia Stars, the AAU team that helped develop Woods, said the player came to UK in part to find out how the incident at Wake Forest might impact his basketball options.

Woods was arrested on Labor Day of 2010 following an altercation with his girlfriend, Courtney Barbour, at the apartment they shared. Woods ultimately pleaded guilty to one count of misdemeanor assault on a female. He was ordered to complete 100 hours of community service and an anger management program.

During the visit to UK the week before last, as reported by Yahoo Sports, Woods met with Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart and school president Lee T. Todd Jr.

"To make sure he had the clearance of all levels if he was to attend Kentucky, that there's no problem," Maynard said Saturday.

When asked if Woods got such an assurance, Maynard said, "He said he felt comfortable. He doesn't think there's going to be a problem at all. It was a real good visit. (Woods and his parents) were very happy."

The visit did not complete Woods' search for a new school. The player also plans to visit Texas, Maynard said. Kansas and Georgia Tech have also tried to get involved.

The Longhorns represent a serious contender. Woods enjoys a good relationship with Texas Coach Rick Barnes, the Georgia Stars official said.

Texas might provide a greater chance to impact the team immediately than Kentucky. Senior forward Gary Johnson graduated this spring, plus freshman Tristan Thompson entered the NBA Draft. At UK, the No. 1 rated freshman class of 2011 and returning sophomore-to-be Terrence Jones make for sizable obstacles to a starting role for Woods.

Maynard noted that Woods entered Wake Forest with Al-Farouq Aminu with the understanding that the two would play together and then enter the NBA together. Aminu played for the Los Angeles Clippers this past season. As for Woods, he attended a two-year school in Louisville this academic year after asking for his release from Wake Forest because of the bad publicity surrounding the incident with his girlfriend and a subsequent suspension by Coach Jeff Bzdelik.

"Tony still has aspirations to play pro ball," Maynard said. "I'm sure the chance to play right away makes it more favorable for Texas."

Woods, a 6-foot-11, 250-pound center, played two seasons for Wake Forest. He averaged 3.9 points, 2.9 rebounds and 12.1 minutes.

Woods cooperated with Yahoo Sports for a story in hopes of putting the incident with his girlfriend into the proper context.

"We got into an argument, it escalated and I reacted poorly," Woods said to Yahoo Sports. "I was definitely in the wrong. I made a mistake. But what got printed and what got said was blown out of proportion."

The girlfriend and former Wake Forest coach Dino Gaudio defended Woods in the Yahoo Sports story.

"People think Tony is some sort of monster," said Barbour, Woods' girlfriend. "It's frustrating to everyone around him because we know that's not the case."

Maynard noted the importance of addressing the incident before Woods decided where to resume his college basketball career.

"Now it's open and he can talk about it," the Georgia Stars official said. "It's not a black cloud. His girlfriend supports him fully."

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