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.  John 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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