A tumultuous January for Penn men’s basketball continues with your classic “good news-bad news” situation.
The good news: star guard Antonio Woods has been reinstated to the school and will be able to help the Penn basketball program once again.
The bad news: he won’t be taking the floor until next season.
Woods’s eventual return time is a bit surprising, as many wondered whether he’d touch the floor as soon as the Princeton game on January 7th. His cryptic Tweet on December 27 only fueled the speculation.
He did keep his promise to answer all questions – but the answer might not have been what most Penn fans were anticipating. The Quakers will have to wait until the 2017-2018 season to deploy one of the program’s best players, which undoubtedly damages the team’s already-slim chances of an Ivy League crown this year that were further damaged with a pair of crucial league losses to Yale and Brown this weekend.
But while things might look bleak for this year’s team’s chances, the outlook for next year just got a lot brighter.
Ever since Woods arrived on campus in 2014, he has been an impact player. Starting as a freshman, Woods contributed 8.4 points per game and led the team in assists and minutes played. Those totals were only improved upon in his sophomore campaign, when he boosted his scoring average to 10.7 points per game. Unfortunately, due to poor academic standing, the guard was barred from playing in the final 15 games, and more significantly, he was temporarily suspended from the University.
In his absence, the Quakers struggled mightily, winning just five out of those 15 games and finishing Ivy League play with four straight defeats.
However, it goes without saying that the missed time affected Woods even more severely than it affected his team.
In an Instagram post from last week, Woods honored the anniversary of his departure from Penn by opening up about the effect that this last year has had on him: “A year ago today, I learned a lesson that will stick with me for the rest of my life. A year ago I had things that I love taken from me. Things that, looking back on it, [I] took for granted a little bit. I was dropped by my university for a YEAR, which meant I was no longer a student nor an athlete. My academics and basketball were gone.”
The conclusion of the post is where the bombshell was dropped: “A year ago I never thought this day would come.......I will be going to my first class in over a year on Wednesday. I will also be redshirting the rest of this year to get back on track academically.”
For Penn men’s basketball, as with all things, better late than never.
All comments eligible for publication in Daily Pennsylvanian, Inc. publications.