In 1954, Dave Wood, a two-time All-City cager from Akron Buchtel High, decided that California was the place to be. He and several Akron-area basketball talents followed Hall of Fame coach Bill Bertka (1989) to Santa Marie, CA, to play at Allan Hancock Junior College. Under Bertka's guidance, Wood and company brought Hancock national attention. Despite getting sidelined with a broken ankle his freshman season, Wood helped the Bulldogs capture the Central California Conference (CCC) title with a 22-9 record. In 1955-56, the high-scoring and fast-breaking Bulldogs won 31 of 35 games while averaging 91.6 points per game that included a 152-48 thrashing of San Luis Obispo. The 6-5 Wood led Hancock to another CCC title by pacing the team in scoring with 631 points (18.6) and rebounding with 537 (15.8) to earn the MVP of the CCC. Russ Beichly was all smiles when Wood decided to come back home to finish his career at The University of Akron. The first season as a Zip cager was an adjustment for Wood, who as a starter helped UA win 18 of 25 contests. Joining Hall of Famers Climon Lee (1977), Fred Golding (1987), Ray Pryear (1987) and Bob Whaley (1989) in 1957-58, Wood paced the 20-6 Zips in scoring with a 14.2 average as UA captured the Ohio Conference (OC) title and earn the school's first post-season NCAA Tournament bid. Wood's effort, which included a UA career high 28 points versus Lawrence Tech and 22 rebounds against Heidelberg, earned him first team All-OC honors.