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Woodson likes Marshall

MU basketball
May. 21, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

HUNTINGTON -- When Dominic Woodson came from Round Rock, Texas, to play for Huntington Prep, he never imagined it might one day be his home for college basketball.

Now, those thoughts are starting to creep into the mind of the 6-10, 280-pound center who was reportedly released from his commitment to Baylor University in Waco, Texas.

"It's definitely changed from when I first got to Huntington," Woodson said. "I went to a few games at Marshall and I saw the coaches and players and atmosphere and I just liked it. I've gotten to know people here."

Woodson asked for his release from a signed National Letter of Intent and, according to sources, Baylor has reportedly granted his release, pending approval by the NCAA. Woodson signed with Baylor in November 2012.

Until the NCAA approves Woodson's release, it is not official. However, indications are that Woodson was given a full release.

Woodson said Monday the two schools he is interested in are Marshall and Memphis, and that he plans to make a decision soon.

"That's pretty much it," Woodson said. "I'm going to choose pretty quick. I want to get it over with. Another round of recruiting gets pretty crazy."

The reason for the craze is because of Woodson's skill set, which is not found in many big men around the country. He has extremely quick feet and good hands for a man of his size.

Woodson is also a matchup problem because if the opposition double-teams him, he can work away from the low block with strong passing and ball-handling skills. He also can knock down jump shots from 15-to-18 feet.

Huntington Prep head coach Rob Fulford said Woodson's biggest needs heading to the next level are maintaining his body and developing toughness.

"He's skilled, there's no question about it," Fulford said. "He just has to get his body right. He needs to be about 270. He needs to be on that (New Mexico State center) Sim Bhullar, hide-the-Twinkie diet. Right now, Dom's got a two pack. We need to get him to a six pack."

Fulford confirmed he and Woodson discussed his future when Baylor announced that 7-1 center Isaiah Austin and 6-9 forward Cory Jefferson both were returning to school. The announcements came as a surprise because both players were projected first-round picks in he NBA Draft.

"When Dom asked what I thought about Baylor and the situation with the kids coming back, I talked to him and he had no interest in redshirting," Fulford said. "We started tossing around ideas and I asked him what he thought about Marshall. It just sort of went from there.

"There's a laundry list who want to get involved," Fulford said. "He's a top-100 guy and was a top-50 guy. He's going to be a popular guy. My advice to Dominic was that if they didn't recruit you at first, don't let them in the second time because that means they are recruiting you because they missed on someone else."

Marshall might be the leader for Woodson because of his familiarity and comfort level with the area.

Woodson has gotten acquainted with the Huntington area over the last year and has grown close with many people in the Tri-State.

Marshall would be a situation where he would have a family-like atmosphere and a support system nearby in his former Huntington Prep coaches and teammates.

Woodson said Huntington had become his home.

"Definitely, it's home," Woodson said. "This is like my second home. Whatever situation I feel comfortable in, that's where I want to be. I'm comfortable here."

Woodson also has the experience of playing alongside high-caliber players at Huntington Prep, so the adjustment period to the college game would not be as sharp a curve as with some athletes out of high school.

Fulford said if Woodson wants to be an immediate impact player, Marshall would be his top option to do so.

Memphis, who generally uses four guards and one power forward or center, under coach Josh Pastner, returns Shaq Goodwin to the post and has talented power forward Austin Nichols coming in.

"He'd have a chance to be an impact player at Marshall immediately, and I think he knows that," Fulford said. "If he's looking at immediate playing time and immediate impact, Marshall would be the better option."

Woodson, who still needs to achieve a qualifying test score on the NCAA's sliding scale to be eligible, graduates Friday from Huntington St. Joe, so there is a strong chance he will make his decision before the end of the week.

Fulford said he envisions Woodson being eligible in the fall, and that scores from a previous attempt at the SAT should return within the next week or two.

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