May 8, 2002
TUCSON, Ariz. - The last time Wildcat fans saw Loren Woods in a University of Arizona uniform, he and his teammates were playing for a national championship. The fans in Tucson will get to see him in UA colors once again this weekend, as the former basketball standout returns in a cap and gown to participate in commencement ceremonies Saturday as a member of the graduating Class of 2002.
Woods, a 7-foot-1, 246-pound center from St. Louis, Mo., will receive his B.S. in Family Studies this summer after completing his final credit hours during the university's first summer session. After leaving Arizona just three classes shy of a degree in the spring of 2001 to pursue a career in the National Basketball Association, Woods completed two of those classes via internet correspondence and will be allowed to participate in commencement ceremonies May 11 due to the fact that he is enrolled for his final class.
"Receiving a college degree has always been on of my most important goals," said Woods. "Last year I promised my mother and myself that I would graduate, and I'm very excited to follow through on that promise. This will be a great Mother's Day present."
Selected with the 46th pick (second round) of the 2001 NBA Draft by the Minnesota Timberwolves, Woods averaged 1.8 points, 2.0 rebounds and 0.6 blocked shots during his rookie campaign in 2001-02. The Timberwolves advanced to the 2002 NBA Playoffs, but were eliminated by Dallas in the first round.
Woods was an Associated Press honorable mention All-America selection in 2000-01 after averaging 13.2 points, 6.5 rebounds and 2.9 blocks per game. He was instrumental in leading the Wildcats to a runner-up finish in the 2001 NCAA Tournament by averaging 16.0 points, 7.7 rebounds and 4.0 blocks in six tournament games. He earned all-NCAA Final Four and all-NCAA Midwest Regional honors for his efforts. His 24 blocks set a new NCAA Tournament record.
He finished his collegiate career with 1,188 career points (11.1 ppg average), 687 rebounds (6.5) and 281 blocked shots (2.6). In his two-year Arizona career, Woods averaged 14.3 points per game and shot .522 from the field.
Woods is the fourth member of Arizona Basketball's senior class of 2001 to receive his degree, joining John Ash, Eugene Edgerson and Justin Wessel. The fifth member of the class, Lamont Frazier, is currently completing his degree requirements as well.