In the Tony Woods saga, who’s laughing now?

Tony Woods

Tony Woods

Don’t be so quick to make fun of the other team for taking the player with the troubled past.

Soon a player with a troubled past might be playing for your team.

It might even be that very same player with the troubled past.

That’s the lesson in the Tony Woods story.

Last fall, it appeared the former Wake Forest center, who had plead guilty to a charge of misdemeanor assault for striking his girlfriend, was headed to Lousiville, a development that prompted an outcry from some members of Big Blue Nation, eagerly using Woods as an example of just how desperate the Cardinal basketball program had become.

Now, according to Jason King of Yahoo Sports, Woods may end up at Kentucky.


Tony Woods arrived for his unofficial visit to Kentucky last week assuming he’d meet with various members of the Wildcats’ coaching staff.

By the end of the day, though, Woods had spent time not just with John Calipari and his assistants, but with athletics director Mitch Barnhart and university president Lee Todd.

“I guess they’re the ones who ultimately have to give me the green light,” Woods said. “Hopefully, I left them with a good impression.”

Later in the conversation, Woods became emotional and had to fight back tears.

“It sucks,” he said. “Whenever my name comes up, [the altercation] is what people associate me with. Hopefully, I’ll be able to change people’s opinions. If not, I’ll just take what life throws at me and deal with it.”

There is a good reason why Woods would need to meet with both Barnhart and Todd.

Here is an excerpt from a report on the incident that got Woods tossed at Wake:

According to court documents, the 20-year-old 6 foot, 11 inch center from Rome, Ga., was arrested and charged Monday with three crimes: assault while inflicting serious injury, assault on a female and assault while inflicting serious injuries with a minor present.

Arrest warrants show that Woods kicked and pushed a woman who he lives with in the presence of his one-year-old child. The woman suffered a fractured spine, the warrant says. According to the warrant, Woods hadn’t been drinking when the incident happened.

King allows Woods a chance to tell his side of the story:

Painful as it was to miss a season of basketball, the attacks on his character stung Woods even worse. After spending most of the last year in virtual silence, Woods and those close to him have had enough. They said it’s time to clear his name following an incident they claim involved nothing more than Woods “pushing” Barbour.

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

That may be true, but Jeff Eisenberg of Yahoo wrote at the time that the law went easy on the 6-10 center.

Woods’ still faced charges so serious that Wake coach Jeff Bzdelik believed the Deacons would be better off without his services. ┬áJohn Calipari has been known throughout his career for giving kids second, even third, chances. And maybe Woods is deserving of another chance. Highly-recruited, he had been a disappointment as a Deacon, averaging 4.6 points per game. He would be surrounded by tremendous talent at Kentucky, which would no doubt aid his development.

But UK needs to do its homework, and consider the ramifications.

After all, it is the Louisville fans who are wondering where is Kentucky’s outcry now?

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  1. kybasser says:

    Here is one of the BBN’s outcrys. Any man who hits or gets physical with a woman is in a special category, unless there are mitigating circumstances, such as if she was attacking him with a weapon. Otherwise, I am sorry, but I don’t think they deserve a second chance at the University of Kentucky. This will certainly, if it comes to happen, change the amount of my support for Coach Cal and Barnhart. I hate to say it, but this really lowers my respect for the program and those in charge that they are even entertaining the idea of allowing such a kid to come to school there. Unless something can be found in the court case’s transcripts that clear the kid, he in my opinion should be serving a sentence in jail. I would hope that Jerry (I hate UK and Coach Cal) Tipton has already filed freedom of information requests to get the transcripts.

    Go CATS!!!!!

  2. Cassi says:

    No matter what we will always laugh at Louisville and they will always laugh at us. It’s the nature of our relationship.

    Not knowing the details, this kid, and not having followed the story one iota I don’t want to comment on whether the kid deserves a second chance or not. Personally as a woman I would never date someone with this on their record (big duh) but as for if he deserve a second chance to build a decent life I reserve judgement. I think a college education benefits everyone.

    I think a sit down heart-to-heart is the only way to get to the bottom of the incident and make a judgement of the boy. I will wait to see what everyone at UK says.

  3. Chris says:

    Give him the ball and let him play

  4. Larry721 says:

    KYBASSER, I believe if you new more of the story you would not come down so hard on Tony. This has more to do with his future mother in-law pushing the daughter into this case. There is NO CASE and NO Harm to his girlfriend…The future mother in-law has issues (argument) with Tony’s mom and uses Tony to exact her revenge…Sad story, but all should fear the Wrath Of a Angry Women…Tony never deserved this and should be given a ” First Chance” all over. This beautiful young Family is very fortunate that God has Bless this Team with Coach Cal who will give Tony new opportunity.

  5. JackB says:

    I hope we pass on him.

  6. Yes, hitting a woman is bad. But as a coach, your only moral is to win. Picking up a good player with a troubled past is like a steal to me, and they probably won’t ever do it again. Maybe they should just send him through “rehab” real quick and everyone will forgive him.

  7. kybasser says:


    Are there some “new” things to this case? I “knew” a little about the case when the whole issue first came to light about him possibly going to UL. I then did a lot of research on the situation. I read several newspaper articles on the subject that were printed in the local media in the Wake Forrest area. Either you know more than the reporters printed in the media, or you are the one that is incorrect in your assessment. If Tony Woods can earn the right to be on the biggest stage in college basketball then he should get that chance. But you don’t just get that second chance given to you in the biggest of arenas. He should at best attend a smaller college and demonstrate that his character is as good as “he” claims it to be and to be as good as you seem to want to defend it as being. Otherwise, show me the evidence that exonerates him of the crime that was written about in the press. No retractions were ever printed. Get me the transcripts of the trial. Show the evidence, the facts, of why this guy deserves to be given the biggest stage to try to show he is not who he appears to be when HE pushed the mother of his child and she went down the stairs, ending with a fractured back.

    I suppose all the reporters in the WF area could have conspired to make him look bad, and if so, show me the proof. All I have had to go on is all the articles I read, including the information released by the university when they, the university, decided he needed to be dismissed from the team. Hey, remember he chose WF, and WF chose him, and if WF was able to determine the guy was in need of being dismissed, well then someone has to show me the facts as to why that school was incorrect in their actions, and at that point I am sure Tony Woods would have a great civil lawsuit that he could file.

    Go CATS!!!!!!

  8. Michael Dickerson says:

    Why was he apparently placed on probation or had the charges dismissed? Or did he receive some punishment? We need facts.

  9. mark says:

    You’re leaving out an important part of the puzzle John. Its known that Calipari gives players “2nd chances” and takes chances on “at risk” players. The reason the Tony Woods story was relivant was because the UL fans claiming they were too high and mighty to go after those type of players. The truth is if the kid is skilled enough either school will go after him. It was the hypocricy of the UL fan that caught the flack, not the actual player.