Tag: Rodney Hood

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How Rodney Hood used his redshirt year at Duke to transform into a NBA Draft prospect

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source: Getty Images
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CHICAGO — Among 2014 NBA Draft prospects, Rodney Hood has the unique experience of being one of the few early entrants who transferred schools and had a redshirt year.

After Hood spent his freshman season at Mississippi State under former head coach Rick Stansbury in 2011-12, the native of Meridian, Mississippi opted to transfer to Duke and sit out a season before having a solid sophomore campaign in the ACC in 2013-14.

Most early entrants in the NBA Draft aren’t likely to transfer or take a redshirt year — required by NCAA rules for transfer students that don’t get granted a waiver — like Hood did, but the lefty wing told NBCSports.com that transferring to Duke and sitting out a season before 2013-14 was the right move for him.

“The year I sat out was great for me. A lot of people back home say, ‘why did you do that? You could have been a star at State,’ but I wanted more for myself and sitting out gave me a chance to learn a lot from the seniors we had,” Hood said to NBCSports.com. “I learned a lot and got a lot stronger, stayed in the gym and it carried over to the next season because I think I had a really good season.”

Hood was good enough to earn 2012 All-SEC Freshman Team honors in his one and only season at Mississippi State, but the 6-foot-8 wing’s game took another leap after sitting out a year at Duke. Hood averaged 10.3 points, 4.8 rebounds and two assists per game for the Bulldogs, but saw his scoring average rise to 16.1 points per game at Duke last season while also tallying 3.9 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game.

Shooting percentages also skyrocketed for Hood at Duke. As a freshman, Rodney shot 44 percent from the field, 36 percent from the three-point line and 65 percent from the free-throw line. At Duke, those numbers increased to 46 percent from the field, 42 percent from three-point range and 80 percent from the free-throw line. The growth of Hood’s offensive game has put him in position to be a potential lottery pick in this year’s draft.

“My freshman year I was more of just a mid-range shooter. In the year off I really extended my range to the three-point line and I’ve really extended it now,” Hood said. “Mentally, it was tough. Just sitting out, knowing that you could be playing. But it was the right plan for me and I feel good about it.”

Also factoring into Hood’s improvement as a player was the demanding nature of the Duke coaching staff. Hood specifically cited former Duke assistant coach and new Marquette head coach Steve Wojciechowski as a major factor in his development.

“Coach Wojo is my guy. He coaches like he used to play back in the day. Fiery, passionate and whoever gets a chance to play for him at Marquette is going to have a great time because he loves the game and he knows the game,” Hood said.

After transferring into the program, Hood recalled when Wojo went off on him in a workout for going at his own pace. The experience helped show Hood how to handle things when going through practice.

“I had my first encounter [with Wojciechowski] the year I was sitting out,” Hood said. “The first workout when we had a game — the first game — and I came out there and I was shooting shots and kind of at my own pace and he slammed the ball down and went, ‘Hood! What the blank are you doing?’ and just went off and we’ve had a great relationship ever since then.”

Also receiving credit from Hood was Coach K’s style of play with Duke’s wings. The freedom that the Blue Devil offense gives talented wing players like Hood gives those wings a chance to flourish.

“Coach doesn’t put wing players in a box — and I consider Jabari a wing too. He allows me to post up, allows you to come off ball screens. If you can play, you can play; and that’s a reason I went to Duke,” Hood said.

Playing at Duke under an intense coaching staff in a league like the ACC has helped prepare Hood for the NBA Draft process as he goes through workouts and tries to answer some questions about his game.

“When I first got out there there was a lot of jitters. Now the jitters are gone once you get going and it’s great,” Hood said. “This is everybody’s [dream] journey and I’m fulfilling it now.”

Duke sophomore Rodney Hood officially entering 2014 NBA Draft

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One day after it was reported that he would be entering the 2014 NBA Draft, Duke redshirt sophomore Rodney Hood made the news official Friday afternoon via a press release from Duke.

Hood, who began his college career at Mississippi State, spent two seasons in Durham with the 2013-14 campaign being the only one in which he played. Hood averaged 16.1 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game this past season, earning second team All-ACC honors and helping lead the Blue Devils to 26 wins.

MOREThe entire list of players entering the 2014 NBA Draft

“Rodney had two terrific years here at Duke,” Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski said in the release. “He was an integral part of our team two years ago because he was such a great practice player and this year he was one of the best players in the country.

“So consistent and a great young man on and off the court. He will do really well in the NBA and obviously he will always be a part of what we do and we wish him the best.”

Duke will lose two underclassmen, with freshman Jabari Parker making his decision to enter the NBA Draft on Thursday. But neither loss was an unexpected one for the Blue Devils, who add a talented recruiting class that includes center Jahlil Okafor and point guard Tyus Jones. Those newcomers, along with returnees such as Quinn Cook and Rasheed Sulaimon, are why many expect Duke to be a national title contender in 2014-15.

Report: Rodney Hood to enter the NBA Draft

Rodney Hood
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Rodney Hood will be entering the NBA Draft, according to a report from Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports.

This decision is not in the least bit surprising, as most have expected Hood to make this decision all along. After Duke’s loss to Mercer in the opening round of the NCAA tournament, Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski told reporters, in reference to Hood, “I wish we had him for more than one year.”

MOREThe entire list of players entering the 2014 NBA Draft

Hood averaged 16.3 points and 4.2 boards while shooting 40.8% from three on the season, which was actually his third year at the college level. He played at Mississippi State as a freshman, averaging 10.8 points, before transferring to Duke in the wake of Renardo Sidney’s tenure with the Bulldogs. Hood sat out the 2012-2013 season.

He is projected to be the No. 22 pick in the draft, according to Draft Express.

Duke will be just fine without Hood. They add a loaded recruiting class, headlined by Tyus Jones and Jahlil Okafor, and return guys like Rasheed Sulaimon, Amile Jefferson and Quinn Cook. They were No. 2 in our Way-Too-Early Preseason Top 25 with the assumption that Hood, and Jabari Parker, who declared for the draft today as well, were bound for the league.