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
Steve Prohm announced on Monday that starting center Jameel McKay will not be in the lineup on Wednesday when the Cyclones take on Texas Tech.
“He’ll practice today because I want him in practice,” Prohm said, “but game-wise, he’s suspended.”
McKay did not make the trip to Stillwater with the team on Saturday, where Iowa State beat Oklahoma State, 64-59. Prohm has not gotten into specifics regarding the cause of McKay’s suspension, but it’s reportedly an issue with the way he has been practicing. McKay is dealing with a nagging knee injury, which may play a role in the situation as well.
“My hope is he’ll be with us on Saturday,” Prohm said.
Like the Coaches Poll, Villanova found themselves No. 1 in the AP Poll during the regular season for the first time in the history of the program.
And like the Coaches Poll, there isn’t much in the way of a consensus when it comes to who is the No. 1 team, as there are six teams that received No. 1 votes in the poll this week.
The biggest shock to me?
The No. 1 team in the NBC Sports Top 25, Iowa, received just 11 first place votes and is ranked fourth in the AP Poll.
They were ranked fifth in the Coaches Poll.
Can we get Fran McCaffery the love they deserve?
Here is the rest of the AP Poll:
1. Villanova (20-3, 32 first-place votes)
2. Maryland (21-3, 13)
3. Oklahoma (19-3, 7)
4. Iowa (19-4, 11)
5. Xavier (21-2)
6. Kansas (19-4, 1)
7. Virginia (19-4, 1)
8. Michigan State (20-4)
9. North Carolina (19-4)
10. West Virginia (19-4)
11. Oregon (18-4)
12. Miami (FL) (18-4)
13. Louisville (19-4)
14. Iowa State (17-6)
15. Texas A&M (18-5)
16. SMU (20-2)
17. Arizona (19-5)
18. Purdue (19-5)
19. Dayton (19-3)
20. Providence (18-6)
21. Baylor (17-6)
22. Kentucky (17-6)
23. USC (18-5)
24. Texas (16-7)
25. Wichita State (17-6)
DROPPED OUT: No. 22 Indiana, No. 25 South Carolina
NEW ADDITIONS: No. 23 USC, No. 24 Texas