The term "game-changer" gets thrown around far too often. It gets used on every NFL player with a pulse, on virtually every fourth-quarter turnover, and after every significant political event. Sure enough, following last night's much-ballyhooed announcement that 7'1" center Adam Woodbury will be attending Iowa and playing basketball for Fran McCaffery, we saw it again. Woodbury is a program-changer. Woodbury is a difference-maker. Woodbury is a turning-point recruit.
What we know right now is this: Adam Woodbury is one of the most sought-after high school centers in the country. He held offers from the likes of North Carolina, Ohio State, Wisconsin, and Stanford (with interest from Duke and Kansas). Rivals has him ranked as the #42 player in the country, ESPN #41, Scout #47, all with four-star ratings. It's said he has a relatively refined post game, at least for a high school senior; in watching the game tapes, it's clear he knows his way around a Mikan drill. Defensively, he's a solid rebounder, though the jury is out on his abilities as a post defender and shot-blocker (ESPN's scouts say his defensive abilities are his best qualities, Scout says he doesn't alter too many shots). He's also extremely tall, so tall that we had this handy chart made to help you comprehend his height:
What we also know is this: Adam Woodbury is 230 pounds, so while he isn't Erik Hansen stick figure thin, he'll need to gain some weight if he wants to hang with the experienced post players in the Big Ten. We also know that big guys are traditionally late bloomers, and generally require more time and more work than guards if they are to contribute, especially big guys who aren't used to seeing seven footers on the other bench every night. Adam Woodbury carries great expectations to Iowa, expectations that may need to be tempered in 2012.
Adam Woodbury the player may or may not be the knight in shining armor riding to Iowa's rescue that the creepers make him out to be. Adam Woodbury the COMMITMENT, on the other hand, is a revelation. Iowa hasn't landed a basketball prospect of his caliber since Tyler Smith (and before that, probably notable blogger Jared Reiner). His announcement topped ESPN's basketball recruiting page and pushed Iowa to #11 in their 2012 class rankings. And Woodbury did the unthinkable, something that Lafrentz and Hinrich and Collison and Barnes and Paige were unable to do: He let Roy Williams hand him an offer and make his sales pitch, and he turned Roy down. We obtained this exclusive footage of TOP BASKETBALL SCOUT VAN COLEMAN reacting to the news:
His commitment is in direct contradiction to the Todd Lickliter Reign of Terror, when the country's best player was in Ames and Iowa couldn't even get its hat onto a banquet table full of hats for selection day. Lickliter refused to play the AAU game, and while it was noble, it was also stupid. Lickliter had recruiters, in that he had coaches who could go into houses and get the nice underrated Iowa kids he wanted. McCaffery, on the other hand, has capital-R Recruiters who do this for a living. He has guys who are keyed into the AAU world, who can work that system for the guys they need, who aren't afraid to get in the mud. He has a program that somehow turned an 11-win season into a big step forward in perception. He has a new practice facility to promote (that one thanks in no small part to his predecessors), and he knows how to sell it. Woodbury's announcement, perhaps even more than McCaffery's hire itself, seemed to trumpet a new dawn for Iowa basketball, one we were starting to worry would never come during this longest of nights.