Editor’s note: Please welcome Mike Brand to the big show. Today Mike is kicking off a new interview series at LAS, and Thomas Wood of UNC fame just Got Branded!
Last year the University of North Carolina men’s lacrosse team got off to hot start with 10 straight wins. A huge part of that success was junior attackman Thomas Wood.
Wood started off playing high school ball for the Episcopal School of Dallas then moved on to the Collegiate School of Richmond, Virginia. The Tar Heels are primed and ready for the road to Baltimore, and recently I had the opportunity to chat with T. Wood about lax and some other topics.
Let’s start with the beginning. When did you first pick up a stick and why?
I first picked up a stick in 5th grade down there in good ol’ Dallas, Texas. One of my Dad’s coworkers had played in college and had an old stick laying around. He gave it to my brother, who showed it to me, and the rest is history I suppose.
How was the transition from Dallas lax to VA lax?
It was definitely an interesting transition. I had an opportunity to play with some great players down in Texas and up in Virginia alike. I think ultimately what I discovered was that, while the best of the best in both states was pretty equal, there was a greater depth of talent on the east coast. Instead of playing 3 or 4 really good teams a year (in Texas), I played against 7 or 8 great teams (in Virginia).
What do you think of the current Dallas scene and the role the MCLA plays there?
I think the Dallas lacrosse scene is great. Its already pretty well established, yet at the same time it continues to grow; especially throughout the public schools, which is awesome. I know the MCLA championships have been held in Dallas a number or times, which means a lot to young lacrosse players. Since there are no Div. 1 lacrosse schools in Texas, that’s about as close as a young player can get to seeing great lacrosse in Dallas (live). So I would say its presence is vital to the growth of the game.
What’s the best perk when you’re part of the UNC athletic dept?
Interesting question for sure. Hmmm, I’d say the best perk is, first and foremost, being sponsored by Nike. That’s pretty sick. But also just having the chance to be surrounded by elite athletes from various sports. I mean, if you look at just our Fall sports: the women’s soccer team might be the greatest dynasty in any sport, ever. The men’s soccer team had been to back to back Final 4’s. The women’s field hockey team has won 2 or 3 National Championships over the past 5 years and our Football Team would be a top 25 (at least) caliber team if we were at full strength. So l think one of the beat aspects about being part of the Athletics Family here at Carolina is being around people you’ll be seeing on Nike ads one day.
How is Milton Lyles doing and do you think his injury should have been shown on the internet?
Milt is doing great. His spirits are unbelievably high considering the situation. I think he’s pumped that (with a redshirt) he just bought himself another year of college. But seriously, it’s a huge loss for us this season. He’s such a playmaker. That being said, we’re looking forward to getting him back next year.
I didn’t really have a problem with it. It wasn’t gruesome (I dont think?) and I feel like after seeing that your heart goes out for him even more.
What do your tar heels need to do to win a national championship besides scoring more goals than the opposition?
I think we’ve got to peak at the right time. I have no doubt in our ability as lacrosse players and I think you could see the potential with our 10-0 start a year before. We just need to do a great job of preparing to play our best in May. Very simple answer, but certainly not an easy thing to accomplish.
Who is the greatest Tar Heel of all time?
Jeez that’s a tough one. I could name 100 probably. Athletes? Probably Michael Jordan, Mia Hamm, Lawrence Taylor, Choo Choo Justice, Davis Love III, Vince Carter, I mean the list goes on. James K. Polk maybe? President of these United States. I could go on…
How bout them Cowboys?
Ahhh the Good Ol’ Cowboys. Word on the street has it that someone in the front office knew Romo would get hurt, which would ultimately end our chance of making the playoffs. Thus, they decided they should just be absolutely miserable in hopes of getting that No. 1 draft pick. Unfortunately your Bills are once again going for that as well though….
Yes, I had to look up Choo Choo Justice and the Bills are losing on purpose to draft Cam Newton. Good luck this season Thomas, we’ll be watching!