TaQuan Woodley considered narrowing his list of 20-some college offers to a final five.
But ultimately, he decided he only needed one.
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Woodley, a pure power forward who recently finished his junior season at Camden High, announced his commitment Monday night to attend Penn State on a basketball scholarship.
“I just had a good vibe about Penn State right from the jump,” Woodley said. “It was all love with the players, the coaches. I knew it was the right place for me.”
The 6-foot-7, 220-pound Woodley, a rare combination of strength, timing and basketball instincts, helped Camden to a 29-1 record, including a season-ending, 25-game winning streak.
The Panthers had advanced to the semifinals of the Group 2 state tournament when the event was canceled by the outbreak of the coronavirus.
Woodley averaged around eight points and 10 rebounds and led Camden with 71 blocks. A physical and spirited player, Woodley also displays a deft shooting touch in the paint and a keen feel for interior passing.
Woodley played some of his best games against top competition, with 16 rebounds and five blocks in a win over Philadelphia Public League power Simon Gratz; 14 points and eight rebounds in a win over Roselle Catholic; 10 points and nine rebounds in a win over Gill St. Bernard’s and 14 rebounds in a win over Wildwood Catholic.
Woodley also had offers from programs such as South Carolina, Rutgers, Temple, Manhattan, and La Salle. He said the opportunity to play in the Big Ten was a factor in his decision to commit to Penn State.
“I’m a big fan of the Big Ten,” Woodley said.
Woodley visited Penn State during a football game in the fall and again in early January.
“It was a white-out game — a great experience,” Woodley said of attending a Penn State football game with a crowd of around 110,000 spectators.
Woodley, who plans to major in business management, said he has developed a good relationship with Penn State head coach Patrick Chambers as well as assistants Keith Urgo and Kevin Freeman.
“I feel like they can help me develop into the person I can be on and off the court,” Woodley said.
Woodley played his freshman year at Neumann Goretti, helping the Saints win the PIAA Class 3A state title in 2018. His commitment continues a recent trend in which Penn State has attracted top players from the Philadelphia area, including Lamar Stevens, Mike Watkins, Seth Lundy, Izaiah Brockington, and Sam Sessions.
“Just talking with the players and coaches, I knew it was the place I wanted to attend,” Woodley said.
If there is an AAU season this summer, Woodley has plans to play for the New York Renaissance. Camden senior Lance Ware, a Kentucky recruit, played the last couple of AAU seasons for that program.
Woodley said it was a relief to make his college decision so he can fully focus on his final season at Camden. He believed the team was on the verge of capturing its first state title since 2000 when the tournament was shut down.
“We did what we were supposed to do — 29-1, 25-game winning streak,” Woodley said. “We just didn’t get the chance to finish it.