Brad Woodson assumed his shot at becoming a Tennessee basketball player expired when former Vols coach Donnie Tyndall was fired. Maybe he could be a manager, or something. Then, during an impromptu meeting last week, new Vols coach Rick Barnes extended an invitation that became the highlight of Woodson’s campus orientation. I caught up with Woodson, a 6-foot-1, 180-pound shooting guard from Murfreesboro’s Riverdale High School, about joining the team as a walk-on in July.
Q: Can you walk me through the process of finding out you were going to join the team?
A: “Originally, under Tyndall, we had talked about being a walk-on, but with the coaching switch and everything it kind of fell through. I was up in Knoxville for orientation last Monday and Tuesday, and I went by to see if I could be a part of the team. I waited and waited and ended up talking to a manager. I gave them my name and number. Then Coach Barnes walked in. He had remembered watching film on me and invited me to watch practice later that day. It kind of all happened at once. The timing was great .”
“It kind of surprised me, because when it fell through before I was like, ‘Dang maybe I can be a manager, or be around the team or something.’ It was crazy how it all happened. It was a great surprise to have that happen at the end of orientation.”
Q: What did Barnes tell you he was looking for in a walk-on?
A: “A smart guy who can shoot the ball as well. That’s pretty much it.”
Q: Are you more of a shooting guard or a point guard?
A: “Naturally, I’m a shooting guard. Shooting is my strongest ability.”
Q: What are your expectations for your freshman season?
A: “Just help the team in any way, whether it’s with a couple of minutes every now and then, or pushing the guys in practice, or running the scout team offense.”
Q: Your dad, Kevin Woodson, coached you throughout high school. How did being a coach’s son shape your game?
A: “Just always being around the game and talking about the game. On Saturday, after the Friday night game, we would watch film and go over stuff that should be different. We always had that connection. He didn’t even have to say anything … Having a dad as a coach definitely helped the basketball IQ.”
Q: What are the areas you need to improve?
A: “My speed and my ball handling would be two of the main ones. Those are the two parts of my game that need to get a lot better.”
Q: You were a pretty good baseball player in high school as well. Any chance you try to play that as well at UT?
A: “No. I’ll be strictly basketball.”