Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Sports

October 6, 2013

Italy welcomes Wood

Kokomo product begins second pro hoops season with team in Florence.

(Continued)

“I’ve been blessed after this point, the first two years of my [pro] career, to be in good situations,” Wood said. “A lot of times in European basketball it’s about finding the right situation and the right fit. I’ve been blessed with a great situation here. The coaches are great, the team all accepted me. They brought me here to play my game. I don’t have to change any part of my game.”

Wood is a combo guard who finds himself playing more at the point guard spot than he did in college with Valparaiso and Michigan State, or last season in Hungary.

“That’s one of the knocks on me is I’m an undersized 2 guard, but I really haven’t had a chance at the college level or pro level to show I can play the point guard. I’m getting a chance to do that this year. I’m more of a combo [naturally] but my game hasn’t changed — make plays. I’ve been a scorer for as long as I can remember, so [my role is to] score, make plays for my teammates.”

The preseason in Italy’s Legadue Silver isn’t as heavy on games as it is for an NBA team. Affrico Basket Firenze has played a series of scrimmages in preseason that are less formal than NBA preseason games. Mostly, they’re playing against teammates.

“It’s going to be fun to know it’s official now and that it counts,” Wood said.

“Physically and mentally, I feel like I’m where I need to be to start the season. My confidence is high. I’m just looking forward to doing what I do.”

Wood’s goal is to eventually work his way higher and higher, though he’s quite comfortable with the situation he’s in. Italy is enjoyable and there’s plenty of Americans — students studying abroad and tourists — to give Wood a little bit of a comfort zone.

“I’m always working to get to the NBA and always keep that dream alive,” he said. But Italy has its advantages if that dream doesn’t materialize. “I really like the style of play. The living experience is more Americanized. It’s really like the States, so if I have to spend my career abroad, I can see myself spending my career in Italy.”

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