July 30, 2014
Bernard Woodside would have had a hard time growing up if he’d hated sports.
His father, Bernard, starred at LSU then went on to a professional playing career in the Continental Basketball Association (CBA) and in Europe.
Among his peers, his cousin Keith played running back at Texas A&M and was a third-round draft pick of the NFL’s Green Bay Packers, for whom he’s played for four years (1988-91), while another cousin Tyler Desire plays defensive line at Princeton and yet another cousin is Anthony Grant, current men’s basketball head coach at Alabama.
He’s also related to New York playground legend and former NBA and ABA superstar high-flyer Connie Hawkins.
Bernard has plans on following in those footsteps and is aiming high to make his own mark. He plans on making his name in the ACC, enrolling at Georgia Tech. He comes to the Flats following a successful high school career at Tampa Prep, where he captained the hoops team for two years and played along side current Georgia Tech transfer, point guard Josh Heath on teams that went 110-13 over four years, won four district crowns, three regional championships and a 3A state title in 2012.
Woodside would like to help Tech get back up into the ACC’s elite but knows he has a lot to work on just to get on the court. He’s enjoying the challenge of getting to that level and is excited to think of what the future holds.
The 6-1, 181-pound guard talked with The Good Word about being at Georgia Tech, what brought him to Atlanta and how hard he had to sell it inside the family.
THE GOOD WORD: How have you enjoyed your introduction to Georgia Tech and ACC basketball?
Bernard Woodside: I’m very excited. The ACC is the best conference by far, so being able to be on any ACC team and go through the rigorous work that I know most ACC teams are going through to compete with each other, it’s a great feeling.
TGW: What led you to choose Georgia Tech?
WOODSIDE: Academically it’s a great school. There’s a city atmosphere and I’m used to the city being originally from New York. So I always wanted to be in a city kind of place. Then, Georgia Tech has a pedigree for having good guards, so I wanted to also be a part of that group.
TGW: Where have you most wanted to improve during the summer?
WOODSIDE: Definitely becoming a more consistent shooter. I think a lot of times in games I was able to knock down shots but not as consistently as I want to. Especially from the three-point line because I know with bigger guys I won’t be able to get to the lane as easily as I did in high school. So I think being able to consistently knock down contested and uncontested shots was the key this summer.
TGW: Did you have to explain choosing an ACC school to your dad, who played at LSU and your cousin, Anthony Grant, who coaches Alabama?
WOODSIDE: Actually, I didn’t because I grew up actually being a Big East fan. So all my life they knew that I wanted to play in the Big East. At the same time, if that didn’t work out I always could go to LSU. That was a guarantee because my father and I have the same name. So they wanted me. Coming out of high school I had the opportunity to go there but Georgia Tech was just the best fit for me long-term. With my cousin, Anthony, at the time, he wasn’t at Alabama. He was at VCU and so when he made that transition, I was already kind of swaying toward being in the ACC.
TGW: How often do you talk with another member of your family, ABA and NBA legend, Connie Hawkins?
WOODSIDE: I don’t get to talk to him as much. He’s a lot older. But I know he’s taught my father a lot and I’ve learned a lot from my father. So that’s been a big thing as well.
TGW: Have you watched film of “The Hawk”?
WOODSIDE: Oh, definitely. I’ve watched a lot of tapes from him and my father and a lot of different players. I’m trying to figure out how he jumps like that. Hopefully I got that gene.
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