Updated: May 31, 2013 at 11:03 am
After the April release of Seventh Woods' YouTube video compilation of his best moves on the basketball court, media outlets and coaches took notice of the high school freshman.
He's been heralded as a basketball prodigy, possibly the next LeBron James. Even his unconventional name, given to him because, Woods said, "God completed the earth on the seventh day," suggests that he is a complete player with a unique skill set.
But in the first practice of the Under-16 USA Basketball men's developmental team Thursday night at the Colorado Springs Olympic Training Center, Woods seemed a far cry from the highly touted 14-year-old South Carolinian.
"I thought he was holding back a little today. He kind of wanted to get everybody involved in the game," said coach Don Showalter, who has led the USA developmental national team for five years. "But he's a great talent, there's no question about it."
Woods, the youngest of 31 players invited to the camp, struggled in some of the early drills, missing shots and committing turnovers ?- something he partly attributes to adjusting to the altitude.
But once the practice transitioned from drills to scrimmages, Woods gave coaches a reminder of some of his talents exhibited in the mixtape.
He began the first of three scrimmages looking on from the bench. But in his first few seconds in the game, Woods intercepted a pass at midcourt, took a few dribbles and slammed in a two-handed dunk.
Woods fittingly finished the first scrimmage with seven points after knocking down a pull-up jump shot and a long-range 3-pointer. First-time court coach Anthony Byrd from James Irwin High School, said that Woods was one of the players he noticed.
But Woods wasn't the only player who caught the eye of the coaches.
Showalter said that he was impressed with the passing of 6-foot-9 forward Harry Giles.
"He gives the ball up," Showalter said. "He understands the game and when to pass. He almost thinks like a point guard at times."
Giles, a rising high school sophomore, said that he grew up wanting to play point guard, but ended up outgrowing the position.
"I always wanted to be point guard, but I was a little bit too tall to play the point," Giles said. "I just like to get my team involved and get them to play with me."
While these two young talents showed promise in their different abilities during the first day of practice, there are hurdles for the players to clear before the 12-member team is announced as early as Sunday morning.
Once the roster is announced, chosen players will begin practicing for the FIBA Americas U-16 Championship held in Maldonado, Uruguay, June 8-15.
"A lot of times when you see the athleticism, you forget that these kids are 16, 17 years old," Byrd said. "A lot of them look like college guys, so you've got to understand that they're young. They're still learning what we've already learned."
Here are notable players who made it through training camp and made team rosters in 2011 and 2009:
Jabari Parker - committed to Duke
Aaron Gordon - committed to Arizona
Jahlil Okafor - hasn't committed but has offers from Arizona, Duke, Baylor, Illinois, Kentucky, Kansas, Michigan State and Ohio State
Theo Pinson - committed to North Carolina
Bradley Beal - played at Florida, now with the Wizards
Quinn Cook - plays for Duke
James Michael McAdoo - plays for North Carolina
Andre Drummond - played at UConn, now with the Pistons