Seventh Woods showed more than the return of his confidence as he took on a different role to be named MVP as Blue Demons won the Irish men’s cup
It was always going to be a mental challenge for Seventh Woods and UCC Blue Demons in the Irish cup final. What observers didn’t expect was the change in on-court challenge for Woods. The former North Carolina man embraced a different kind of role as Demons won the cup in dominant style.
This matteredthe last few have not been kind to him in basketball.
Woods went out on Saturday night against Ballincollig, in a game Demons won 82-68 over Ballincollig, with a point to prove. How he went about proving it just wasn’t the method expected.
A different role
You don’t win MVP in a championship game unless you do something special. Woods had 22 points on 6 of 15 shooting. Despite getting a solid volume of shots, this was very much an off-ball performance for Woods.
By design, Blue Demons had to move away from its back court as the focal point of its attack. I’ll get to the why in a bit. That led to a much more balanced offence from the eventual champions.
It meant Woods was drawn out of the thick of the battle more often than not. It was rare for him to have opportunities, at either end, to battle near the rim. There were few chances for Woods to be hyper aggressive defensively. These are assets Woods has displayed during his time in Ireland. Yet, for the needs of the team, he had to sacrifice them and still find a way to contribute.
BallinEurope is ramping up its YouTube game this season. Subscribe to our channel now for player exclusives, analysis videos, and much more.
Showing a well-rounded game is excellent for agents and scouts. It makes Seventh Woods more valuable to teams elsewhere in Europe next season. Still, it helps to have something really cool to add to the reel.
It came in the first half. Woods went down the right side of the floor but he was well defended. As he got to the baseline, he hit a perfect teardrop shot with an arc that maths nerds would swoon at. Sadly the clip isn’t online yet but it was on a different level to the norm.
For all of the sheer hustle in the semi-final win over Neptune and his adapting on Saturday night, this was it. This was the moment that Seventh Woods showed he has rediscovered the confidence that made him such a phenomenal wonder as a high school freshman.
Elijah Tillman needs some love
The easy rationale to take as to why Woods wasn’t the focal point is to look at why he sat. Woods picked up 3 fouls in the first half. This led to him sitting for large chunks of the second and third quarters. This rationale is wrong.
The core reason that Woods was used off ball in this game was a big barrel of fury. Woods was MVP in this game but Tillman was the focal point on both ends. His finishing stats of 17 points on 8/15 shooting with 13 rebounds and 5 blocks under states his impact. No, instead, the best way to describe what Tillman did was to look at the image below.
Tillman bullied Nikola Roso and Keelan Cairns with ease. That led Blue Demons to adopt an inside-out approach to their attack. What Tillman did dictated the options for Seventh Woods, James Beckom, James Hannigan, and anyone else with the chance to benefit from his enormous effort.
This was a tremendously coached game from Daniel O’Mahoney. Woods himself showed the buy-in that he and his team mates had to the strategy in the post-game. This is a mature Seventh Woods. He has taken his knocks, he’s picked himself up and is putting in the work on the journey. Woods knows he’s not all the way there yet and that’s the exciting part. He knows there’s much more to come.