While this might not have been quite as impressive a game as his previous two outings, Wood played extremely well once again, helping his team win the PIT championship, while locking up tournament MVP honors for himself. He did a terrific job running his teams offense, scored some timely baskets, and really showed outstanding leadership skills in the clutch by taking them on his back and shouldering plenty of responsibility. This whole week was really an inspiring performance by the extremely underrated point guard from Wright State, who only got in because some better prospects decided to cancel.
In terms of his playmaking, Wood did an excellent job running the show. His team was by far the most unselfish here, recording 31 assists out of 43 made baskets, and Wood was really the catalyst behind that with the example he set for how things should be run. He was extremely patient throughout, letting everything come to him rather than forcing the issue, and making his teammates look very good by constantly creating easy shots for them. He did it with a combination of terrific ball-handling skills and hesitation moves, keeping his defender on his heels constantly with his excellent perimeter shooting ability and outstanding quickness to get into the lane almost whenever he pleased at this level.
Woods passing ability was on full display, whether with a series of drive and dish plays, some terrific lobs into the post, and a couple of perfectly timed bullet passes in transition for easy baskets. Wood clearly had the best awareness of whats happening around him of any of the point guards here, and its become incredibly obvious that he was not able to fully show just how talented a playmaker he is in college because of the huge scoring burden that was put on his shoulders at Wright State.
This has obviously made him a much more versatile player, though, as instead of just being a phenomenal point guard or a fantastic scoring combo, he can do both very well. If left open for even a second, Wood shows no hesitation knocking down jump-shots with 3-point range. He can also get to the basket and finish amongst the trees in a variety of ways off the glass (runners, floaters, pull-ups, etc), although he clearly needs to improve his left hand. His toughness is exemplified in the fact that he averaged over 5 rebounds per game despite being a skinny 5-11.
The two weaknesses we could identify had to do with the player he was matching up against, Jamaal Tatum
. Wood had some problems in the first half adjusting to the incredibly tough defense that Tatum played on him, as he is bigger and quicker than him and just absolutely relentless. Later on in the game he seemed to adjust very well, though, taking Tatum off the dribble on a number of occasions and getting to where he needed on the floor. In fact, it was two baskets he created while being matched up with Tatum late in the 2nd half that really secured the victory for his team, making him fall down with a phenomenal crossover and then dishing off wonderfully for an assist on one occasion, and then taking him strong all the way to the hoop for a gorgeous floater with contact off the glass plus the foul.
The other concern to come out of this game had more to do with his lack of size and strength. He had some trouble getting through the screens that were set on him, and was beat off the dribble on a few other occasions by the quickness that Tatum has at his disposal. Not being particularly tall or long, its not clear how well hell be able to contest the shots of the bigger guards in the NBA that he potentially could match up with, but to his credit we must say that Wood plays just as hard on the defensive end as he does on offense.
All in all, this couldnt have been a better week for DaShaun Wood
. He did virtually everything in his power to show that he can play in the NBA, and surely locked up an invite to the Orlando pre-draft camp in late May. Many will question his size, but he wont be the first player to make it at 5-11 ½, and obviously wont be the last. Something that can never be questioned is the size of his brain, heart and cojones.