The two biggest reasons that Duke is once again considered a Final Four threat and a favorite to win a very strong ACC are incoming freshman Jabari Parker and rising sophomore Rasheed Sulaimon.
But two players won’t be enough to get the Blue Devils all that far in a season that many believe is as strong talent-wise as any in recent memory.
Enter Rodney Hood. The 6-foot-8 small forward was once a five-star recruit coming out of high school and averaged 10.3 points and 4.8 boards as a freshman on Mississippi State before transferring to Duke. He sat out all of 2012-2013 as a redshirt and was expected to have a huge year with the Blue Devils.
And hopefully, his Achilles’ won’t get in the way of that.
At the tryouts for the World University Games, Hood injured the Achilles’ in his right foot. The seriousness of the injury is not known, but most seem to be cautiously optimistic. Gary Parrish of CBSSports.com is reporting that Hood’s injury was not in the same realm as the Achilles’ injury that sidelined Kobe Bryant, meaning that it’s not obvious he ruptured the tendon. Andy Glockner of SI.com was at the trials last night and spoke to Hood afterwards. He wrote that Hood “left the gym on crutches as a precautionary measure” but that he “didn’t seem to be in any great distress”.
We’ll update this story when more information is known.
You can find Rob on twitter @RobDauster.
Ohio State has capitalized on its close relationship with NBA superstar LeBron James over the years and now has a new shoe display that should come in handy during recruiting.
The Buckeyes put out a tweet late this week with the display, calling themselves “THE LeBron school.” While this is something small, recruits like that the Buckeyes are tied into the best player in the world and it’s cool to them that Ohio State gets some exclusive gear.
Rutgers has struggled to achieve success on the floor the last few years and head coach Eddie Jordan is hoping that some talented newcomers can help start a turnaround. With the start of practice, local media saw some of the Scarlet Knights’ early practice and Jerry Carino of the Asbury Park Press noted that the duo of freshman point guard Corey Sanders and junior college forward Deshawn Freeman were getting a lot of burn together.
With both incoming players being four-star prospects, it’s hardly a surprise that Jordan would see what the two were capable of. According to Carino, it meant a lot of Sanders driving and forcing the defense to collapse before finding Freeman.
“It seems like coach always has us on the same team,” Freeman said to Carino. “Ever since we’ve gotten here, he’s trying to get us to play together.”
Carino also notes that since Rutgers is deeper, longer and more athletic in general this season, the team could do more with a pressing defense to help create turnovers.
While Rutgers still faces an uphill climb in the Big Ten, they at least have some exciting pieces that will be in place for a few seasons.