VALPARAISO | When Brandon Wood decided enter his name for the NBA draft, it appeared there was an option that the junior had played his last game in a Valparaiso uniform.
Even if Wood removes his name from the draft by May 8, the deadline to preserve collegiate eligibility, the First Team All-Horizon League selection may no longer be a member of the Crusaders due to an NCAA rule that was established for student-athletes who have graduated.
Wood is set to graduate from Valparaiso in May and could have immediate eligibility at another Division I school, provided that institution offers a graduate degree that Valparaiso doesn't offer.
"With me graduating and having an extra year, I want to take a look at all of my options that I have before me," Wood said. "My family and I have met with Coach (Homer) Drew and with Coach Bryce (Drew) and we've gone through everything. We've talked about the pros and cons of everything. They ultimately want me to come back, but they've helped me with every option I'd like to explore."
That help has included granting a Permission-To-Contact letter which must be given by Valparaiso in order for other Division I schools to speak with Wood. Drew has granted the letter and Wood has had multiple conversations with Michigan State and is also looking to set up a visit at Purdue.
"I talked to Coach (Tom) Izzo and Draymond Green so far," Wood said. "It's kind of like a flashback to high school recruiting again, but it's also a bit different. I'm recruiting them at the same time. I would only make this decision for a perfect position and for the right graduate program. The exposure of playing in a power conference night-in and night-out and the chance to prove myself in a Power Six conference."
While Wood feels he's proven himself in the Horizon League, the Kokomo native was quick to not rule out a return to Valparaiso.
"Valpo is definitely still in the mix, I'm still a Crusader right now," Wood said. "Valparaiso gave me the opportunity to not only grow as a basketball player, but also as a man. I go back to the trip I took with Athletes In Action and Coach Drew turning me on to God. That was a turning point in my life and that helped make me a man. My experience here has been a great two years and I'll always be glad to be a Valpo alum. Regardless of what happens, I'll always be a Valpo alum."
Despite the uncertainty of his collegiate future, Wood is still concentrating on the NBA draft. Private workouts with NBA teams begin on April 29 and Wood will have 10 days to make a decision on his future.
"I'm still going into this draft process right now," Wood said. "My main focus is on the draft and I know that I only need one team that wants me. These other options are more just a fallback right now."