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.