Feb. 2, 2012
Through three seasons, Renaldo Woolridge displayed glimpses of what he could do on the basketball court from time to time.
The North Hollywood, Calif. native had a breakout game against Sienna as a freshman, scoring 14 points and grabbing six rebounds. That game had Vols fans talking.
The short-handed Vols likely wouldn't have knocked off No. 1 Kansas in that oh-so-memorable game on Rocky Top without Woolridge's 4-of-6 from behind the 3-point arc.
"That game against Kansas is one of the most memorable experiences I've had," said Woolridge. "That whole season--going to the Elite Eight--everything about that year was just incredible and I'm blessed to say I was a part of it."
But after a few setbacks, his junior season did pan out the way anyone expected. That didn't hold Woolridge back, however. Continuing to work in the gym and the weight room, new opportunities soon arose.
As Cuonzo Martin stepped onto the court, Woolridge saw a chance to step into a new role. During the first half of the Vols' 2011-12 campaign, he emerged as a solid contributor, averaging nearly 17 minutes, 5.5 points and 3.7 rebounds. He is shooting .432 from the floor, including .400 from 3-point range.
"Anybody who is part of a team wants to help out and contribute, so it feels good to be able to do that," said Woolridge. "Even though I was playing as much last season, I never stopped working and now I think I'm finding my role. I'm just eager to continue helping my team anyway I can."
Woolridge helped his team curb a four-game skid earlier this year with a career-best 17-point effort against UNC Asheville on 7-of-12 shooting, including 3-of-6 from 3-point range.
However, no conversation about Woolridge would be complete without mention of his musical aspirations. Swiperboy, the pseudonym for Woolridge's hip-hop alter ego, has never been more popular.
The Twitter account for Swiperboy recently received "verified" status reserved for celebrities. His fan following grows far beyond Rocky Top, ranging from the heart of Big Orange Country all the way to his roots on the West Coast.
And on Jan. 1, 2012, his hit single "Facetime" debuted in Apple's internet iTunes store.
"It's exciting to see all the possibilities that are out there," said Woolridge. "With all of the success I've had, it just feels good to see that hard work pay off."
Woolridge could likely never give up on his hopes and dreams in the music industry. However, his focus the past few months has been a little more singular: basketball.
Woolridge is writing the final chapter of his legacy with solid performances on the court. His hard work paid off as he earned a spot in the starting five during a four-game stretch earlier this season. Woolridge matched his career-best 17-point performance at Kentucky, knocking down another career-best five 3-pointers.
From Sienna to Kansas, UNC Asheville to Kentucky, the Vols look for Woolridge to punctuate his legacy with more memorable performances.