Duke loses the core of Mason Plumlee, Ryan Kelly and Seth Curry to graduation this spring, leaving big holes in the lineup.
That production will need to be filled by rotation players from last year such as Quinn Cook, Tyler Thornton, Rasheed Sulaimon and Josh Hairston to make up for the lost production. Andre Dawkins will be back too. Marshall Plumlee will return to the floor. And highly-touted recruit Jabari Parker will make his way to Durham.
But the Blue Devils are expecting a lot from redshirt sophomore Rodney Hood, who sat out last season following a transfer from Mississippi State. On Tuesday the new Duke forward wrote a piece for DukeBluePlanet.com explaining what he took away from in his first season with the Blue Devils.
“The main thing I learned sitting out is the intensity level and commitment you need to have to the game of basketball to be the best, wrote Hood. “That’s the main thing I learned this past season from Coach and my teammates. I didn’t think I could learn anything from Mason and the rest of the seniors, but I picked up little things from those guys each and every game.”
Hood went onto write about how in awe he was of Coach K and his passion for the game. Hood also believes he can become a leader by example and off the floor after seeing what it takes to be a part of a winning program.
As for the team next season, Duke loses its top rebounding on a poor rebounding team in Plumlee. The Blue Devils will need to rely on Marshall, who only played 50 minutes this season and is recovering from foot surgery. But Hood thinks their length and athleticism will still keep Duke in the hunt.
“I can imagine getting into people’s faces and trying to pressure the ball,” wrote Hood. “We will be really athletic and can take some chances on defense. We will see. There’s a lot of options for a team like this.”
The 6-foot-8 Hood averaged 10.3 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game in his lone season with Mississippi State.
Terrence is also the lead writer at NEHoopNews.com and can be followed on Twitter: @terrence_payne
Thursday afternoon marked the first time since Friday that Louisville head coach Rick Pitino commented on the controversy that has taken his program by storm. Speaking with Terry Meiners of 840 WHAS in Louisville, Pitino discussed the escort scandal, what could have possibly led former staffer Andre McGee down the path he’s alleged to have taken in Katina Powell’s book and his future at Louisville.
The interview began with Meiners asking Pitino if it changed his thinking as to whether or not he needed to resign, which (as one would expect) Pitino shot down. Also discussed was the statement released by school president Dr. James Ramsey, which expressed support for athletic director Tom Jurich but did not mention Pitino at all.
“Well I can’t answer that, Terry,” Pitino said when asked why he wasn’t mentioned in the statement. “Twenty-six years ago Kentucky brought me in to make the program compliant to NCAA rules. (Then-Kentucky president) Dr. (David) Roselle and (then Kentucky athletic director) C.M. Newton thought I was the guy to come in and change around the images, change around the culture and add a lot of discipline to the program. And I did that.
“And then I came here to the University of Louisville, and if someone was five seconds late or not early consequences would be paid from a disciplinary standpoint,” Pitino continued. “This is obviously not a person being late, this is not about a person (not) working hard. This is about things that are very disgusting, things that turn my stomach, things that keep me up without sleeping.
“But unfortunately, I had no knowledge of any of this and don’t believe in it. It’s sickening to me, the whole thing. But I’m thinking of my 13 players, I’m thinking of our program, and I’m sorry that Dr. Ramsey did not think enough to mention me but that’s something I cannot control.”
Below is audio of the full interview, which ran just over 17 minutes in length.
Expected to be one of the favorites in the Mountain West this season, Boise State’s perimeter ranks have shrunk by one player due to injury. Thursday it was reported by the Idaho Statesman that freshman guard Malek Harwell will redshirt after suffering a torn ACL in practice. Along with fellow freshman Paris Austin, Harwell is expected to be a key part of the Broncos’ future beyond the upcoming season.
Now, instead of competing with an experienced backcourt that includes four redshirt seniors, Harwell will work to get his knee back to full strength for the 2016-17 season.
Among the guards who will play significant minutes this season are Anthony Drmic, who took a medical redshirt last season, Montigo Alford, Mikey Thompson and grad transfer Lonnie Jackson (Boston College). Chandler Hutchison, who started in Boise State’s final 18 games of the 2014-15 season as a freshman, will also compete for playing time.