Coming off a serious knee injury before the start of last season, sophomore guard Kevin Woods is primed to contribute in a big way for the Utah Valley men’s basketball team this year.
Woods – who prepped at Leo Catholic High School in Chicago – said despite losing key players from last year’s squad, he likes the way this team is playing.
“This year, everybody’s play is going to be a factor,” he said. “Coach wants us to run more set plays instead of relying on just one player.”
Running the point will be Woods’ major responsibility, along with being one of the team’s leaders. The former top-40 high school prospect from Illinois who has gone head-to-head with the likes of NBA star Derrick Rose is up to the task.
“My role as a point guard is to direct the offense and get to the hole,” he added. “I’m able to create shots for myself and my teammates.”
But it has been a long and painful journey for Woods since Sept. 1, 2008.
While preparing for the upcoming season, Woods heard his knee pop while attempting a dunk during an open court scrimmage. Woods feared the worst.
“I thought it was over,” he said. “It was something I’d never felt before, and I was afraid that I’d never play basketball again.”
Doctors told Woods that he tore his ACL, MCL, and meniscus tendons. In addition to the tears, he suffered a fracture on his knee. It would take surgery and several painful months of rehabilitation to get back to full strength. Playing basketball that season would be impossible.
“Rehab was worse than the injury,” Woods recalled. “I wasn’t prepared for all the stretching and bending.”
It wasn’t until this past August that Woods said he felt 100 percent.
“I still have to be careful and take certain precautions,” he said. “I got a big brace that I hate wearing.”
In his first competitive game in over a year, Woods scored a game-high 14 points and grabbed six rebounds in an exhibition loss against Trinity Western. Despite the loss, Woods is optimistic about the rest of the season.
“We got a couple of tough games and tournaments we’re playing in,” he said. “We expect to win games, though.”