Time to kick into actionPublished 5:21pm Thursday, February 14, 2013
PINETOWN — If the Panthers are going to have prolonged run in the Four Rivers Conference tournament their offense is going to need a kick – or more fittingly, a Boot.
With opposing defenses sending waves of double teams at 6-8 freshman center Edrice “Bamm Bamm” Adebayo, it’s imperative that Northside has another consistent scoring threat.
That job belongs to junior G/F Antonio “Boot Man” Woods, and both he and coach Mike Procter know that if the Northside is going to make some noise in the conference tourney Boot Man’s going to have help stomp out gimmick defenses.
“When he doesn’t have good games we don’t do very well,” Procter said. “When he has good games, we play well. We might not win all of them because we’ve played some good teams, but when he has good games we always play well.”
On the season, the 6-2, 225-pounder is second on the team in scoring with 13.9 points per contest. On any given night Woods can be seen slashing to the basket from the wing, bringing the ball up like a point guard or banging in the post with power forwards and said that his only concern is trying to help the team win.
“I see myself being whatever the team needs to get a W,” Woods said. “Whatever coach needs me to play I’ll do.”
As a captain on the team, Woods has many roles and Procter praised his ability to handle them all.
“He’s a leader. He does whatever we ask him to,” Procter said. “He’ll play point guard at times, power forward at times … He just goes and does whatever we ask him to and he competes.”
When Boot Man is on top of his game, he and Adebayo, who is averaging 18.2 points per game, form one of the top 1-2 punches in the conference.
“He feeds off Bamm pretty well because Bamm sees the floor,” Procter said. “If Bamm is successful in drawing double teams than Boot Man gets open easier, and if Boot can penetrate and get to the rim than it makes things easier for Bamm. They just feed off each other really well.”
Playing with a high profile freshman such as Adebayo can potentially threaten the chemistry on the court and in the locker room. However, Woods says that is not the case at Northside and that everybody has checked their egos at the door.
“The chemistry is great,” Woods said. “We haven’t been playing too good lately, but we have great chemistry. We all know how each other plays. We’re not selfish. Edrice is a great player and he’s not selfish. I’m not selfish. We look to get the ball around to everybody.”
The Panthers will enter the conference tournament as either a fifth or sixth seed but can be as good as anyone around when they play at their best, which means Boot Man is going to have to be a key contributor in all phases of the game.
“I think we’re a better team than what we’re showing right now, we just need some more scoring,” Procter said. “(Woods) is just going to have to lead us. He’s a three-year starter and he’s going to have to lead us and we’re going to just have to suck it up and get after folks.”