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Injury forces Rodney Hood to withdraw from World University Games training camp

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Of the 16 players who were named finalists for the United States’ World University Games team, only 12 will be on the official roster when it is announced on Sunday. Friday, USA Basketball announced that one of the finalists has been forced to withdraw from the training camp due to injury.

After reports surfaced on Thursday that Duke redshirt sophomore forward Rodney Hood injured his right Achilles tendon, USA Basketball made it official that he is no longer physically able to participate. That leaves World University Games team head coach Bob McKillop and his staff with 15 players to choose from.

“I feel so sorry for Rodney,” said McKillop in the release. “He committed himself fully to be a part of this team, and we will miss him. He would have been a valuable team member for USA Basketball.”

Hood sat out all of last season after transferring to Duke from Mississippi State, where he averaged 10.3 points and 4.8 rebounds per game and earned SEC All-Freshman Team honors. With Seth Curry, Ryan Kelly and Mason Plumlee all having graduated, Hood is expected to be a valuable contributor for the Blue Devils in 2013-14.

In a story by Steve Wiseman of the Durham Herald-Sun, Hood’s father noted that while Rodney is dealing with some swelling and soreness there is no tear in the Achilles tendon.

Raphielle can be followed on Twitter at @raphiellej.

VIDEO: Utah Valley’s Mark Pope dances, lip syncs with daughters

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New Utah Valley head coach Mark Pope made quite an impression on fans at the team’s Midnight Madness celebration last night. That’s because Pope did a dance and lip sync routine with his four daughters that turned out to be pretty impressive.

The former BYU assistant looks to be the leader in the clubhouse for best coach dance so far this preseason. We’ll see if any other coaches pull out elaborate routines at madness celebrations the next few weeks.

UConn commit tears ACL for second time

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UConn commit Juwan Durham, a four-star big man in the Class of 2016, has torn the ACL in his right knee for the second time in seven months. The Florida native committed to the Huskies and head coach Kevin Ollie back in September. The 6-foot-9 forward is regarded as the No. 31 overall prospect in the national Class of 2016, so he can really be a force when he’s healthy.

In a report from Tampabay.com’s Bob Putnam, UConn was notified of the injury immediately and there is no change in plans with the commitment. The Huskies also own commitments from four-star point guard Alterique Gilbert and three-star power forward Mamadou Diarra in the Class of 2016. Having Diarra, an active, rim-protecting presence, helps with Durham’s recovery, since he can provide some more front court depth.

If Durham rehabs back to full speed, UConn has a very talented power forward who was just hitting his stride in the Florida state playoffs last February. UConn has a nice class so far with this group, especially if Durham can recover, With a year to recover until next season, Durham can hopefully play during his freshman season in 2016.