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Friday, July 22, 2011
Center Tony Woods chooses Oregon

By Andy Katz
ESPN.com

Dismissed Wake Forest center Tony Woods decided to sign with Oregon, his AAU coach Norman Parker told ESPN.com Friday night, a decision that will immediately help the Ducks compete for a potential top four finish in the inaugural Pac-12 in 2011-12.

Parker said Woods decided to sign with Oregon after he learned that he could play immediately with the Ducks following his completion of his associate of arts degree and then admission into summer school next month.

Woods had visited with Louisville, Kentucky and Texas over the last few months but none of the three could admit Woods until December because the schools are on a semester system. Oregon is on a quarterly system and doesn't begin classes until September, allowing Woods to complete his academic requirements in a community college and then on campus.

Woods, a one-time top 50 recruit out of Rome, Ga., was recruited to Wake Forest by the late Skip Prosser and then played for his assistant Dino Gaudio for two seasons. Woods averaged a modest 4.6 points and 3.2 rebounds for Gaudio as a sophomore. But he was dismissed from school in last October with Jeff Bzdelik as head coach because of a domestic assault incident.

The 6-foot-11 Woods was arrested in Winston-Salem, N.C., over the previous Labor Day for kicking and pushing his girlfriend, Courtney Lorel Barbour, in front of their 8-month-old child. Barbour had a fracture in her spine but there was a dispute as to whether she had a pre-existing injury.

Ultimately, a judge dismissed two of the misdemeanor charges -- inflicting serious injury and inflicting injury in the presence of a child. Woods reached a plea agreement on a misdemeanor charge of assault of a female, was given a 60-day suspended sentence and had to complete 100 hours of community service as well as anger management classes.

Parker, who coached Woods on the AAU team the Georgia Stars, said Woods has completed his community service but has one more anger management class, which he will attend in Eugene.

Woods visited with Oregon three weeks ago, according to Parker, and was drawn to the facilities, the coaching staff of Dana Altman and assistant Tony Stubblefield, as well as the opportunity to play immediately and contribute. Parker said he had received inquiries from Cincinnati, Xavier, Auburn and Texas Tech, as well, but Woods never visited.

Parker said the 21-year old Woods is finishing up his requirements at Georgia Highlands College, with the associate degree coming from Jefferson Community and Technical College in Kentucky, where he did most of his work. Woods should step in and start in place of leading scorer Joevan Catron, who finished his eligibility.

"He's certainly looking for a fresh start," Parker said. "He knows he has made mistakes. He's done the body of work required of him. He's been out a year. He needs to catch up. He's in great shape. He looks great. He has the opportunity to play well, get back in school and he's really excited about it."

Oregon will add Woods to a deep incoming class that has five other newcomers, notably shooting guard Jabari Brown. The Ducks finished a respectable 21-18 overall, 7-11 in the Pac-10 in Altman's first season. Altman had replaced the fired Ernie Kent, leaving Creighton for Eugene. The Ducks won the CBI title by beating Altman's former team in a best-of-three series.

The Ducks also return E.J. Singler, Jeremy Jacob and Garrett Sim -- three of the top seven scorers from last season's team.

Cal, Arizona, Washington and UCLA are the likely top challengers for a top-four finish in the Pac-12 next season.

Andy Katz is a senior college basketball writer for ESPN.com.