IOWA CITY — Adam Woodbury’s life choice could become a program-changing decision for the University of Iowa.
Woodbury, a 7-foot senior center from Sioux City East, verbally committed to the Iowa men’s basketball program tonight. In the process, Woodbury spurned North Carolina and Coach Roy Williams, who has plucked some of the state’s greatest prep basketball players over the last 20 years away from both Iowa and Iowa State.
As Kansas’ head coach, Williams signed Raef LaFrentz, Nick Collison and Kirk Hinrich from the state and all three became All-Americans and NBA players. In the last two years, Williams snagged Ames’ Harrison Barnes and then secured current Linn-Mar senior point guard Marcus Paige for the Tar Heels next year.
“This is one where it says, ‘We can compete when other people come in here to get our young men,’” said Van Coleman, national recruiting expert and publisher of Hoopmasters.com. “This is a turning-point recruit for them because they haven’t been able to do it in sometime.”
Williams put on a three-hour sell job to Woodbury on Monday, and it was tough for Woodbury to say no.
“It was extremely tough. Toughest decision I’ve ever had in my entire life,” Woodbury said. “I feel like I’ve matured over this process, and it’s been real good for me. The call to the Iowa coaches was the easiest call in the world.”
Woodbury is the fourth member of Iowa’s 2012 recruiting class. He joins fellow AAU teammate Mike Gesell, a 6-foot guard from South Sioux City, Neb. Gesell committed to Iowa on Aug. 8 and is rated No. 96 by Rivals. Iowa also picked 6-foot-3 combo guard Pat Ingram from Indianapolis on Aug. 17 and 6-foot-10 forward Kyle Meyer (Atlanta) in the spring. All can sign national letters of intent to play at Iowa in November.
McCaffery met with Woodbury last Friday and sold him on his vision for the program.
“Coach (Fran) McCaffery worked real hard on me,” Woodbury said. “I feel like I fit well into his style of play. I’m ready to make something special happen down in Iowa City.
“Me and Mike Gesell look forward to turning it around and get the fans packed into Carver again.”
Woodbury averaged 18.5 points and 12.4 rebounds a game last year for East. He’s a four-star recruit by Rivals, which rated him as the nation’s seventh-best post player and No. 42 overall. Seven other Big Ten schools, including Wisconsin and Ohio State, also offered Woodbury a scholarship.
He originally planned to use his five official visits. Instead he’ll use one — this weekend to Iowa City.
“Iowa just clicked for me,” he said. “It was the place I wanted to go, and I didn’t want to waste anybody’s time and money with those visits. I said Carolina can use that weekend for another recruit to get somebody else in that program.”