Projecting Duke in Two Years: How Does Rodney Hood Fit In?Posted by EJacoby on July 3rd, 2012
As we mentioned in Monday’s Morning Five, the biggest name on the transfer market has made his decision. Former Mississippi State guard/forward Rodney Hood is headed to Duke, where he will sit out next season before gaining eligibility in 2013-14. Hood narrowed his options to Duke and Ohio State last week but chose the Blue Devils to become just the fourth major transfer accepted into the program during Mike Krzyzewski’s tenure – joining Roshown McLeod, Dahntay Jones, and current rising senior Seth Curry. With Duke having just suffered a painful upset in the NCAA Tournament to #15 seed Lehigh as well as losing two first round picks to the NBA, the Blue Devils are in need of a new talent infusion into the program. After four-star signee Amile Jefferson chose Duke in May and Hood has also chosen the Devils, Coach K’s team suddenly has a much brighter future. But why did Hood choose Duke? “[Coach K] told me what he saw for my future. He was specific and to the point,” said Hood on his decision. “He said he can make me a better basketball player and one of the best in the country.” Alongside a bevy of other talented wing players, Hood would become the most experienced of the bunch in 2013 and help lead a star-studded roster.
Hood will be a redshirt sophomore when he joins Duke the year after next with a year of SEC experience as well as a full season of practice time with the Blue Devils. A top 30 recruit when he arrived in Starkville, Hood had a solid year for the Bulldogs, averaging 10.2 points and 4.8 rebounds per game for a team that experienced a rollercoaster season and missed the NCAA Tournament. He was a steady contributor who played the fifth-most minutes in the SEC (32.8 MPG), compiled a 2.1 assist-to-turnover ratio that ranked fourth in the league, and showed an ability to hit the three-point shot (36.4% on 129 attempts). His all-around game as a smooth, 6’8″ wing player should translate well in the future for a Duke team that severely lacked athleticism on the wing last season.
Looking at Duke’s roster, there’s reason for great optimism in Durham. Presuming no early entries next year, Hood will team with incoming five-star guard Rasheed Sulaimon, the following year’s five-star guard Matt Jones, and the aforementioned forward Jefferson on a loaded squad in 2013-14. Hood will have the most experience of the bunch, but other leadership will come from current point guards Quinn Cook and Tyler Thornton, both of whom will still have eligibility then. Forwards Marshall Plumlee, Alex Murphy, and Josh Hairston will also still be around. Duke should have the ability to go 10 deep with quality players in 2013-14 when considering any other incoming recruits for that year as well as redshirt senior Andre Dawkins.
A Duke team reeling from last season’s upset loss to Lehigh should have high hopes for a quick recovery, and Rodney Hood is at the center of their reloaded roster. He has leaned on former teammate and recent NBA first round pick Arnett Moultrie for advice during the transfer process. Moultrie sat out a full year in 2010-11 after switching schools from UTEP to Mississippi State. “I talked to Arnett about it and he said it was going to be real hard. There will be times when you’re mad but you’ll be hungry,” said Hood. An ESPN report also notes that Moultrie said Hood was a one-and-done player wherever he lands, just like Moultrie was himself in Starkville. Regardless, one year might be enough for a Blue Devils team that looks loaded with a chance at serious national contention once again in 2013-14.
Evan Jacoby is a regular contributor for RTC. You can find him on Twitter @evanjacoby.