The state of Indiana is known for high school basketball and a major reason is the legendary 1986 movie "Hoosiers," which follows the Hickory Huskers, a fictional team based on the 1954 state champions from Milan.
All of Hickory's home games were played in Knightstown, Indiana at Knightstown High School and the school's gym is now called Hoosier Gym due to the success of the film.
Over the past few years several of the state's top players have ventured to the tiny gym to play in the Hoosiers Reunion All-Star Classic, a game created to honor the movie, Knightstown, and Hoosier Gym.
NC State signee Scott Wood, a sharp-shooting wing from Marion (IN), laced them up in this year's event. The game featured Hickory versus rival Terhune, and Wood played for the Terhune Tigers. He scored 26 points (10-of-15, 6-of-8 3's), dished out nine assists, and pulled down seven rebounds as he helped lead Terhune past Hickory.
"It was a really neat experience," said Wood. "Mainly because of that movie... it was a great opportunity to play in the gym and get the feel for old school basketball in the state of Indiana.
"I had a good game. I finished with 26 and had some assists and rebounds. I shot the ball really well. I was able to hit my jumpers, and I got out and had a few dunks."
Wood wasn't upset that he didn't get to suit up for Hickory, instead being picked to play for rival Terhune. Hickory defeats Terhune in the playoffs during the movie, but on Friday night Terhune pulled out a double-digit win.
"We talked about that before the game," said Wood, laughing. "We decided we were going to come out and change the story up a little bit.
"I thought our team played real well. We were actually moving the ball and got everybody open shots. We were like 11-of-16 on three-pointers in the first half so we shot the ball well."
At 6-foot-6 and 175 pounds, Wood averaged 25 points per game as a senior while playing a lot of point guard for Marion.
"I feel like I've really improved my penetration game," he said. "I've also been lifting weights so I think I'm getting stronger. That's what I've been trying to improve on."
Don't expect him to play point guard at NC State. Wood knows he'll be back on the wing hunting his jumpshot, a stroke that has him labeled as one of the top shooters in the 2009 class.
"It will be real nice being back on the wing," said Wood. "This year I had to force some shots playing point guard and my percentages slipped a little, but I'll be even more comfortable back on the wing.
"In talking with the NC State coaches, I imagine I'll play the three spot. From what I hear they want me to play the three and maybe play a little bit at the two. It's going to be nice to have someone else penetrate and kick it to me."
Wood enrolls at NC State on June 27th. Before that he has a few other events to play in. The Indiana Senior-Junior All-Star games are this week (Tuesday and Thursday), and on June 13, he and the rest of the Indiana All-Stars will take on Kentucky at Conseco Fieldhouse and then again June 14 in Louisville.
"I'm excited to play in those games," said Wood. "But, I'm also ready to start my college career at NC State."
The talented hoopster expects to come in and compete for playing time right away for the Wolfpack.
"I didn't sign up just to go down there and be a practice player," said Wood. "I'm going to go in and work hard so I can get play. Hopefully I can battle for playing time early and by the time the ACC schedule comes around I can have played well enough to be in the starting lineup."
Wood is one of six recruits NC State signed in the 2009 class. He joins Roswell (GA) Centennial guard Lorenzo Brown, Athens Drive (NC) forward Josh Davis (Raleigh, N.C.), Chatham (VA) Hargrave post Deshawn Painter (Norfolk, Va.), Melbourne (AUS) center Jordan Vandenberg (Melbourne, Australia), and Marietta (GA) Wheeler forward Richard Howell.
Most publications have the class rated top-15 nationally, and it is the best class NC State has inked under Sidney Lowe.
"I actually stay up-to-date with all of that recruiting stuff," said Wood. "I think we were No. 11 the last time I checked so we obviously have a good class coming in on paper.
"The thing to me is a lot of the recruiting is based on potential so I don't get caught up with the rankings. There are going to be a lot of players who go to college and end up surprising people with how good they are, and there are going to be a lot who go to college and don't reach expectations. I'm going to go in and work hard to try and exceed any expectations people have for me."
While Wood is best known for his perimeter game, he has turned heads over the past year with his ability to create for others, defend, and showcase his athleticism.
Playing point guard for Marion has improved his ballhandling and playmaking ability, but he believes his ability to block shots and make plays in transition may surprise fans.
"I'm sure I've surprised some people by dunking the basketball," said Wood. "I probably surprised some with my dunks in the all-star game. Most of the people in Indiana have figured it out now that I can do that stuff though.
"I'm sure that I'll surprise some more people once I get down to NC State."
Coach Quote: "I feel like I've coached and been around a lot of good players, and Scott Wood is the most accurate shooter I've ever been around. He has the ability make shots from all over the floor with his range and overall stroke. He's excellent from the free throw line, behind the 3-point line, and he will finish above the rim.
"I think what will surprise people when they see Scott Jr. is he's more athletic than given credit for. He really has the ability to finish above the rim and attacking the basket, and I think he could grow to over 6-foot-8 at some point, and with his ability, he is a great individual talent.
"I think a lot of times a great shooter will be labeled a shooter because that is what they do best, but Scott is a complete player. The best complement I've heard about Scott Wood from college coaches, it came from two of them and one was Sidney Lowe, is don't let people label him as a shooter because he's a complete basketball player. He's not a catch-and-shoot guy... a 3-point specialist. This is a kid that is leading us in scoring, at the tops in assists, second in rebounding, and a good defender.
"At 6-foot-6 he's a legitimate high-major shooting guard. He is good on his feet, and he moves laterally extremely well. He's grown so much that he's had some trouble putting weight on, but he's lanky, long, and strong for his size. I think he's a kid that will do what's needed. He will end up being able to guard a two or three defensively, but play on the perimeter offensively because he can handle the ball and shoot it. Sometimes when we give Julius a rest we'll slide Scott to point guard... he can handle it and attack the rim where he can get some stuff done."-- Marion Head Coach Joe Luce