Vince Lombardi once said, “The quality of a person’s life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen life of endeavor.”
The quality of 2020 basketball player Elijah Wood’s life could be classified as gold. He is consistently in the gym working on his strengths as well as areas of improvement. The Maryland native doesn’t pick the basketball up and go through the motions. He loves the game.
Standing at 6’5”, Wood is a four-star prospect according to 247 Sports. After he toasts defenders, he can provide jelly with layups as well as jam. Also, his passing is a thing of beauty with enough zip to thread the needle. Wood can shoot, and his floaters frustrate shot blockers.
Defensively, Wood’s trainer and one of his old coaches, Brandon Howell of Bethesda-Chevy Chase (MD), spoke highly of him on that end of the hardwood.
“He has high basketball defensive IQ. He plays the passing lanes well. He’s a good on-ball defender, plays well without fouling, and can see the play before it happens,” said Howell.
Howell believes Wood has tremendous upside with the ceiling of a cross between Dejounte Murray and Patrick McCaw. He likens Wood to those NBA players based on the way he plays as well as physique.
In an era of position-less basketball, tall, but lanky players like Wood have benefitted from this new fad.
“It’s really a blessing because, for most of my childhood, they (coaches) would put me at the three (small forward). But over time, I proved I could play point guard and multiple positions,” said an elated Wood.
Coach Howell loves the all-around game of Wood, saying that in an ideal scenario he could get a triple double any given night.
Howell and Wood’s relationship extends to the offseason where Wood hits the gym and played AAU basketball under him. Howell recognizes his dedication and loves to teach him different nuances to enhance his game. However, the assistant coach at B-CC has learned to be a better mentor and version of himself thanks to his apprentice.
Unfortunately, their relationship is on hold for now as Wood transferred from B-CC to Sunrise Christian Academy in Kansas. Sunrise is a school featuring D1 talents in Malik Hall and Shereef Mitchell and they play tough competition, something Wood relishes. Above all, Wood is infatuated with his future as his new school prepares players for the next level.
Wood has over 20 offers from D1 institutions. He is enjoying the benefits of being recruited heavily, but doesn’t want schools to just look at him like another player. He wants them to connect with him on a personal level.
The schools that are sticking out to him are Ole Miss, Seton Hall, Xavier, Purdue, St. John’s, and Georgetown. Meanwhile, Florida and Virginia send mail. Finally, Missouri’s assistant coach, Michael Porter Sr., had a meaningful phone call with him recently. Yet, Wood remains mum on committing as he is in no hurry to sign a letter of intent.
Still, Wood has two more years to continue to earn the respect of those around the country. He puts the work in on the court, in the offseason when nobody is around, and keeps a close eye on the aforementioned Murray and John Wall. He loves the finishing ability of both players as well as the pick-and-roll savviness of Wall.
Wood was once a wide-eyed freshman on varsity that would sort of get rattled leading up to big games in hostile environment. Now, he is assured of himself and always looking to make the right play, coping with a target on his back.
Heading into the 2018-19 season, Wood is focused on adding weight to his 165-pound frame, knocking down the three consistently, and becoming a leader for Sunrise. As a team, he wants to lead his guys to a national championship as well as being the nation’s top-ranked team.
Pressure bursts pipes, but it also makes diamonds. Wood is a diamond in the rough that will soon be hard to ignore.