COVINGTON, Ga. — Caleb Woods had a one-word answer for any West Georgia men’s basketball fans who may wonder exactly what the Eastside senior guard will bring to the table next year.
“Everything,” Woods said. “I’m bringing it all to the table when I get there. I’m giving them everything I’ve got.”
According to the collection of coaches, teammates, classmates, friends and family who gathered in Eastside’s media center to celebrate Woods’ signing to West Georgia Tuesday afternoon, what Woods’ willingness to contribute the full scope of himself to a basketball program will be nothing new.
In fact, it was his calling card during his Eastside days.
“Obviously with him it’s just a lot of hard work that’s got him to this point,” said Eastside interim head coach Mike Gerald. “That hard work is something most people here have spoken on, so that’s not an issue at all. Caleb is pretty relentless. As a player, he’s always around the basketball. He does a great job for his size, moving without the basketball. Excellent shooter, a good scorer.”
The 5-foot-10 shooting guard averaged 10.7 points per game and shot 32 percent from behind the arc while helping the Eagles to a 15-10 regular season campaign and a 9-5 record in Region 4-AAAA.
Although Eastside missed the playoffs by losing to Druid Hills in the first round of the Region 4-AAAA tournament, Woods’ shooting stroke and ability to create space for an open shot was on full display, and one of the reasons why Eastside never really looked overmatched, regardless of the level of competition face.
But perhaps the thing Gerald was most impressed with was how Woods excelled defensively.
“He did a great job working hard and getting better defensively this season, and I think that’s part of what I was most pleased with,” Gerald said. “It was his commitment. When he did that well, we definitely played well.”
Woods’ work ethic was lauded all throughout the afternoon’s festivities, and it’s something he acknowledges that he’s taken pride in over the years which saw him, as a player, go from obscurity to a legit Division II prospect.
“I hustle,” Woods said. “I always hustle. I know that stuff isn’t gonna get handed to you. You’ve gotta work for everything you want in life.”
Woods called his recruiting journey a “long process that went back and forth,” which gave him a sense of relief and one of gratitude for all who helped him get to this point.
“It just feels great. First, really, it’s because of God,” Woods said. “Without him I couldn’t do it. Second, it would be my family and friends and friends and even my coaches who always pushed me to strive to do better, even through the hard times.”
West Georgia is a member of the Gulf South Conference and finished 17-12 overall and 12-8 in conference play during the 2018-19 season. Woods said the thing that ultimately set West Georgia apart from Dalton State and Montreat College — the two other schools he was considering — was the sense of familiarity he got from visiting.
“With West Georgia, it was just the coaching staff. They were nice,” he said. “They actually made me feel like I was welcome. From the time I took a tour of the school, it was just the place I knew I wanted to be. It felt like I’m at home there.”