Rodney Hood, 6-foot-8 shooting guard, Duke
2013-14 stats: 16.1 PPG, 3.9 RPG, .420 FG%
One of the rare transfers Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski has brought in during his tenure, Hood made a big splash in his lone season with the Blue Devils after leaving Mississippi State. A smooth swingman with great size, Hood formed a dynamic one-two punch with freshman teammate Jabari Parker. Hood’s versatile game still has room for improvement, but his outside shooting, capable ballhandling, fluid athleticism and the length to develop into a solid defender gives him a tremendous foundation upon entering the NBA.
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Career highlights: Hood, a Mississippi native, averaged 10.3 points, 4.8 rebounds and two assists per game as an SEC all-freshman team selection, but still decided to seek greener pastures after Bulldogs head coach Rick Stansbury was fired. After sitting out for a season due to NCAA rules regarding transfers — Hood used the redshirt year to get stronger and fit in with his new teammates enough to be named a captain last season — the oversized wing made an immediate impact, averaging 16.9 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game. The second team all-ACC performer also lived up to his billing as a perimeter marksman, leading the conference with 42 percent shooting from three-point range and an efficient 46.4 percent from the field, with 30 double-figure games and 10 contests in which he scored at least 20 points, including a career-high 30-point game against East Carolina and 21 points and eight rebounds against Arizona.
Strengths: The lefthander’s ability to stretch the floor is the first thing that jumps out about Hood’s game, though he’s far from a one-dimensional player. Hood can put the ball on the floor, serving as a secondary ballhandler, utilize his size when defender by smaller players and is an athletic finisher in both half-court and transition situations. He has solid enough court vision to be an effective playmaker, has the ability to contribute on the glass and with his length, could turn into a above-average perimeter defender.
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Weaknesses: At the moment, Hood’s biggest issue is his inconsistency, in terms of showcasing all of the various aspects of his skill set. While he was overshadowed by Parker, a dominant offensive force, that only partly explains his relative lack of production at different points in the season, but not his lack of occasional aggressiveness, particularly looking to make plays off the dribble. Additionally, his focus on the defensive end and a willingness to mix it up for rebounds are areas that need to be addressed; adding bulk to his slender frame could help allay those concerns.
Draft projection: Depending on his performance in pre-draft workouts, Hood could go as early as the late lottery to as late as the early 20s, with teams’ perception of whether he’s a potential difference-maker or a complementary role player being a factor. Hood’s size and shooting ability alone will earn him rotation minutes in the NBA, but his commitment to being a consistent all-around force is what will determine if he reaches his ceiling as a double-figure scorer with the ability to hurt opposing defenses, even when his outside jumper isn’t falling. Because he’s regarded as a high-character player with a strong work ethic and good understanding of the game, Hood will be an effective player either way, yet as a low-reward prospect, still has a possible high-reward future.