After dancing with some of the nation's elite basketball programs, Adam Woodbury stuck with his childhood favorite. The Class of 2012 Big Man from Sioux City verbally committed to Iowa on Wednesday night at a press conference at East High School.
Woodbury chose the Hawkeyes ahead of North Carolina. The seven-footer also received scholarship offers from Ohio State, Wisconsin, Stanford and others.
“After nearly two years of being evaluated and recruited by a lot of great schools I just felt ThenUniversity of Iowa was the best fit for me," Woodbury said in a statement. "I like the way Iowa plays an upbeat style of ball and that fitsthe way I like to play.
"I love Coach (Fran) McCaffery’s passion for the game and he proved to me during therecruiting process how hard he works. I am very honored by all the schools that offered me ascholarship but I just felt Iowa was the right one."
Woodbury is on track to become the first ever three-time All-State selection for the Black Raiders. The 7-foot-1 center already ranks fourth in career scoring and first in career rebounding at East. He plans to major in Business at Iowa.
"I just want the Iowa fans to know how hard Fran McCaffery worked on getting Adam," East Coach Ras Vanderloo said. "It was amazing. You hear a lot about Fran's work ethic, but it was fun to watch."
Scout.com ranks Woodbury as a four-star recruit on its five-star scale. He is the service's 14th ranked center nationally.
"This is a huge pick-up for Iowa," Scout.com National Recruiting Analyst Evan Daniels said. "This gives them a second, Top-100 recruit (in the '12 class). A guy like Adam Woodbury can man the post for years to come."
South South City (NE) High's Mike Gesell verballed to Iowa last month. Scout.com rates his a four-star recruit and the No. 15 point guard in the country. He and Woodbury teamed up on the successful Martin Brothers Select AAU team and are good friends.
"I'm really excited for Adam," Gesell said. "I knew whatever decision he was going to make was going to be for him and no one else. I just let him know that I'd love to play with him again but would support whatever choice he made."
Gesell thinks he and Woodbury playing together in college will be eased by their four years of playing AAU together.
"We have a chemistry from playing together and against each other," Gesell said. "We know each other's strengths and weaknesses. It's gotten to the point where I already know when I pass it to him whether or not I should cut or let him go one-on-one.
"Other guys won't have that advantage when they get to college. They're going to have to learn chemistry with each other. We already have it."
Woodbury already was highly regarded as a prospect heading into the summer, but his play during that time elevated his stock. He earned MVP honors and the NBA players camp and things took off.
"The phone calls from the higher-end BCS schools, the powers, so to speak, came in rapidly," Vanderloo said. "Carolina, Duke, Texas, Ohio State, Wisconsin, UCLA, I mean a who's who list of college basketball all called. And they were calling often."
When the Carolina offer came at the end of July, it concerned Iowa fans. They've watched Roy Williams pluck talent out of the state during his time with the Tar Heels and Kansas. Harrison Barnes, Nick Collison, Kirk Hinrich, and even '12 point guard Marcus Paige, spurned the in-state schools for the coach.
In a way, Woodbury stopped the bleeding, if only for a while. Williams' visit to Sioux City on Monday was not enough to undo what the Iowa coaches had done.
"I really think the commitment that Fran McCaffery showed Adam from the start, probably about the second day he got the (Iowa) job, he was on him," Vanderloo said. "He's had the pedal down the whole time. That commitment toward him was very important to him in the decision."
McCaffery also instilled his vision for Iowa basketball into Woodbury.
"Fran sold him on the fact that he was going to work hard to get the program back to where it should be and where it used to be when everyone remembers Iowa basketball," Vanderloo said. "He told Adam that he could be one of the marquee guys behind it. He told Adam that he had the opportunity to go to a lot of schools that might be a little better right now, but you're just one of the guys there. He told him he might be the man at Iowa."
Vanderloo said that Iowa is getting a excellent basketball player and person who works hard.
"You don't tell him to go to the gym," Vanderloo said. "He's already there. There's not a lot of kids like that anymore. As good as he is, he wants to get better.
"He's proven that. From the end of last season to today, he's noticeably better. That's awesome."
"Woodbury made drastic improvements over the last two years and developed into a Top 50 player (nationally)," he said. "The guy can score on the block, pass out of double teams and affect the game on the glass."
Woodbury increased Iowa's '12 class of verbal commitments to four. In addition to he and Gesell, McCaffery has gained pledges from Kyle Meyer and Patrick Ingram.
McCaffery is restricted from speaking on recruits until they sign a national letter of intent. The signing period begins on Nov. 9.