Early in what turned into a whale of a rebounding season, Golden Gate coach Joe Consolino said matter-of-factly that his was one of the best point guards in the state.
Voters for the Florida Sports Writers Association agreed, naming Joey Woods a third-teamer on the All-Class 4A list.
Just a junior, Woods really got the point last season. Calm beyond his years, Woods directed the fast-paced, press-and-go Titans' run all the way to the Region 3 semifinals, where their season ended at 22-6 with a closer than it looks 61-45 loss at powerful Sarasota-Booker.
In just its second season, Golden Gate won the District 12 title and swarmed Lemon Bay, 90-53, in the regional first-rounder.
For leading them there with averages of 15.4 points, 2.4 rebounds, 2.9 assists and 1.4 steals, Woods is the 2006 Naples Daily News Boys Basketball Player of the Year.
"He has a real good feel for what's going on on the floor all the time," Consolino said. "He's very poised and he handles games really well. He never seems to be worried about what's going on with himself as far as stats and stuff like that. He's directed by what's best for the team.
"He's gotten to the point now where I can trust almost everything he does on the floor. It truly is like having one of the coaches right there on the floor in the middle of a play."
The 6-foot-3 Woods, who shot an impressive 63 percent from the floor (including 45 percent behind the 3-point line), always has played the point, a position he relishes.
"The whole game revolves around you," Woods said. "Everybody sees what you do with the ball. You're the leader. You lead the offense, you score, you set other people up."
Asked his favorite aspect — nailing 3s, swooping dunks? — Woods did not hesitate.
"Getting assists," he said.
Said Consolino: "He's starting to think like us, and that's what you want in a point guard. You have to make decisions quickly, and he's usually right on target."
Woods recently huddled with his teammates, most of whom will return for next season.
"We've already made the goal to end next season in Lakeland (in the Class 4A Final Four), not in Sarasota," Woods said.
If anyone can lead them there, it's Woods.
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