From MSU to the NBA: Robert Woodard II

Robert Woodard II goes up for a shot during a match between the Mississippi State University Bulldogs and the University of Georgia Bulldogs during the 2019-2020 basketball season.

After his sophomore season in Starkville, Mississippi, Robert Woodard II made the decision to leave Mississippi State University to join the NBA draft currently scheduled for Nov. 18.

Before coming to play for MSU, Woodard played in high school in his hometown of Columbus, Mississippi. He won many titles during his high school career at Columbus High School, including being named Gatorade Player of the Year twice and gaining two 6A state titles before being picked up by MSU as a four-star recruit.

During his time as a Bulldog, Woodard majored in business administration and was listed on the 2018-19 SEC First-Year Academic Honor Roll. He was one of only six players to participate in all 34 games of the 2018-19 season, which he did again in this past season of 31 games. The 6'7" guard had a career total of 539 points during his time at MSU, along with 53 steals, 49 blocks, 65 assists and 342 rebounds.

Woodard is a second generation member of the MSU basketball team, following his father Robert Woodard Sr., who scored over 4,000 career points in high school according to an article by Robbie Faulk. Some of his earliest memories of playing basketball are with his father.

"As far as I can go back, it's just when I used to play at the YMCA in that league," Woodard said. "My dad used to be the coach of the team. That was just where everything started, being in the gym with my dad and him being my coach."

In an interview with Jalyn Johnson of Hail State Productions, Woodard II talked about how his father felt about his decision to join the draft. He said his father was never biased and was comfortable with whatever he decided.

"We had a lot of conversations about it, obviously," Woodard II said in the video interview. "He mainly just put it in my hands."

Besides family input, Woodard II said he did not feel pressured in either direction by his team and coaches at MSU.

"I think they kept it pretty neutral," Woodard II said. "I mean of course you get that feeling that they want me to come back, but they were also saying for me to make the decision that feels best. It was really no amount of pressure either way, you know."

Woodard II also said the pandemic played a part in convincing him the draft was the right decision for his future.

The 2020 NBA draft is tentatively scheduled for Nov. 18. The new potential date for the draft, according to a release by the NBA, would allow for more pre-draft processes to take place, hopefully including a combine in some modified form.

Woodard enjoyed his time at MSU and had very positive things to say about the university's athletic department.

"I feel like it's a great program, just going from a basketball standpoint. I enjoyed it the whole time I was here," Woodard II said. "I feel like it's home for me and I feel like everyone enjoys their experience here in the athletic field."

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