Tony Woods has owned up to his issues, but still claims he was a smothered-up victim of the media's blanket. The former Wake Forest center saw his career in Winston-Salem come to a quick end last fall, when he was granted a release from the school shortly after being charged on three counts of assault against his girlfriend.
The girlfriend, Courtney Barbour, was reported to have a fractured spine because of an incident in the two's apartment. Woods was quickly demonized for his behavior in nearly every corner of the Internet and on the Wake Forest campus. Soon enough, he was no longer a part of Wake Forest's basketball team. Since then, Woods has lived his life in relative silence. Until today.
An eye-opening account from Yahoo! Sports' Jason King today reveals more details of the incident between Woods and Barbour and paints Woods in a relatively positive light. Everyone involved in the incident -- Woods, Barbour and the two's mothers -- all deny any vicious, brutal, physical encounter, which the police report naturally inferred when three counts, brought on by the police, not Barbour, of assault were charged against Woods.
The Yahoo! Sports story has a lot of details and explanations for why the altercation took place, but it basically stems from a fight between Woods and Barbour wherein each person was defending their mother. Then ...
Barbour said she was sitting on the edge of a mattress where Woods was laying with their son. Because the couple had just moved into the apartment and had yet to purchase a bed-frame, the mattress rested only on top of a box spring just a few feet from the floor. She said Woods became agitated and pushed her off of the mattress, causing her to topple onto the carpet.Barbour eventually went to the hospital, where it was determined she had a part of her spine fractured. She suggests that injury could've happened a week prior. No matter, it's now in the past, everyone's moved on -- and Barbour and Woods remain in relationship to this day, albeit a long-distance one; Barbour lives with the couple's child in Washington, D.C.
At that point, Woods said he picked up his son and attempted to leave the room.
“Then it became a power struggle,” he said. “She got up and tried to take him from me. I didn’t want to give him back, so I pushed her away again. At that point our parents came in and broke everything up.”
Barbour said Woods never attempted to hit her or punch her. Asked if she thought he had any intent to injure her, she said: “No, not at all. I never felt that way.”
Woods has completed his 100 hours of court-ordered community service. He attended community college and took a job at UPS in Louisville to pay for those classes. Now the race to pick a school as soon as possible is on. A former highly ranked recruit, there are still plenty of high-level programs interested in Woods' services. The 20-year-old just took a visit to Kentucky and plans on seeing Texas next week. He had committed to play for Louisville in the middle of last season, but has since backed out since Louisville assisant Tim Fuller -- whom Woods knew from Wake Forest -- left the Cardinals to join Frank Haith's staff at Missouri. In fact, Missouri, Xavier and Cincinnati are three other schools showing interest in Woods, according to King's story.
The center with professional basketball talent now seems to have perspective about hard work and second chances.
“I know what it means to have to work for things now,” Woods said in the story. “Some athletes – especially D-I athletes on a big-time stage – never learn what it means to work and to be a real person in the real world. Paying bills, getting a job, struggling. All of it has made me appreciate the opportunity to play basketball so much more.”
He's going to get his chance, and when he does, the toughest is probably yet to come. No matter which school he picks, opposing arenas will not be kind in his first year back on the court.