Tag Archives: Rodney Hood

Monday Musings – Duke Hoops had a heck of a week

 

Mason slams one down.  His brother was a first round NBA Draft pick this past week.

What a week it has been for Duke Basketball!  There is no denying the “feel good” atmosphere around the program these days. It began last Thursday night when Austin Rivers was selected by the New Orleans Hornets with the 10th pick in the NBA draft. He was followed by Miles Plumlee, who went 26th to the Indiana Pacers, giving Duke two more first round draft selections under Coach Mike Krzyzewski. On Saturday, coveted transfer Rodney Hood pulled the trigger for Duke, so as I say, it has indeed been a good week for the program.

If you’ve seen Miles Plumlee of late, he sports a spiffy new look that recalls Clark Kent chic, and it fits him to a tee. Plumlee was often seen by the media as a mild-mannered type, always polite, grounded and professional. But this past Thursday, Plumlee ripped open his shirt to reveal he has a little Superman thing going on as well. While the Pacers’ pick shocked many, those of us who followed Plumlee’s progress and spoke with league insiders saw this coming. Plumlee is a workout freak, and he posted great numbers during the NBA combines.  Many teams saw a player with both the athletic ability and the skill set to make it in the league. You can’t teach height, of course, and Miles’s size, combined with his ability to shoot from the permiter and run the court, served him well. NBA coaches and execs also did not forget that Miles learned how to play the game under Coach Krzyzewski at Duke, and that at 23, he’s already mature in many ways that should aid in his transition to the next level.

Austin Rivers is one of the most unfairly judged players I have been around since covering Duke basketball. Many mistake his confidence as a brash arrogance, when the reality is that confidence is an integral part of his game and a key component of his drive and his motor. Desire can carry a player a long way, and Rivers unquestionably has it. It never ceases to amaze me how uninformed internet chatter can be taken as gospel truth, even by the “mainstream” media, and this was certainly the case with regard to the perceptions of this young man.  I can tell you first hand that Rivers is a good kid, polite and professional when need be, but also not afraid to speak his mind. He is the type of kid that would settle differences with a game of one-on-one; the only thing wrong with that is how unfair it would be to just about any opponent he would face.

Austin leaves Duke having provided the program and its fans with one of the most thrilling and unforgettable moments in Duke’s long and glorious history when his buzzer-beater to beat UNC hit nothing but the bottom of the net.  While Rivers will certainly have to adjust to the physicality of the NBA game, he has been a big success at every level, and this one will be no different.

The news came Saturday evening that Rodney Hood, a coveted transfer from Mississippi State, would be attending Duke. In our latest BDN Premium update we discuss his addition for our members, and one of the things we share is that he will be on campus this Wednesday.  Hood’s addition changes the landscape of Duke’s recruiting, and we discuss that as well in the Duke Basketball Team and Recruiting Update. Hood was a player BDN was on early when he was on the AAU circuit, when he let us know that he had always liked the Blue Devils growing up. Hood will be allowed to practice with the team this year, and should be a part of the N.C. Pro-Am, where fans will get a firsthand view of his game.

We are a mere two months away from kickoff on the gridiron, and the Blue Devils face a bear of a task in the opener, as Florida International comes to Wallace Wade returning 18 starters from back-to-back bowl teams. There is no doubt that this game, even though it’s the opener, is vital to the Devils’ hopes of a run at a bowl themselves.  If a season opener could ever be “must win” for Duke, this would be the year.  We’ll be talking more football starting this month as Cut surveys his team.  Make plans now to support Duke Football by buying season tickets and check out the new “Cut’s Corner.”

USA Basketball is about to take center stage as well, and Coach K and company will keep Duke in the headlines in their effort to bring another gold medal home from London.   BDN has always supported and covered Team USA’s efforts, and this season will be no different.

Matt Jones and Julius Randle of the Texas Titans

Duke Basketball Team and Recruiting Update – Where does Duke go from here?

Matt Jones and Julius Randle of the Texas Titans

In our latest update, Blue Devil Nation Premium recaps what has happened recently on the recruiting trail and gives you an idea of what to expect next.

It wasn’t that long ago that many were writing the Blue Devils off after being shocked by Lehigh in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.  For several weeks after the upset, there was only criticism. But three months have now passed, and the dark skies have cleared considerably, as Duke has added several key pieces for the future in incoming freshman Amile Jefferson and transfer Rodney Hood.

Amile Jefferson has arrived on campus.  He will spend plenty of time in the weight room, for there is a big leap from high school ball to the high major college game, and Amile needs to get stronger in order to contribute in a big way.   Jefferson will have the luxury to play behind Mason Plumlee and Ryan Kelly in his first season while learning the ropes, but the coaches will give him every opportunity to play when he is ready.

The Duke Men’s Basketball staff continued its recent momentum on the recruiting trail, landing coveted Mississippi State transfer Rodney Hood this weekend. Hood is right around [private] 6’8″ and is long, lean and athletic. He is an outside/in player, meaning his game is geared towards the perimeter; he likes to get touches just beyond the free throw stripe, from which he is comfortable taking it to the hoop or popping the mid-range J. His ability to knock down those mid-range jump shots draws bigger players away from the hoop, keeps the opposing defense honest, and opens up things for his teammates. Hood is also a good defender and likes to get after it by using his length to his advantage. While he did not dominate the SEC as a freshman, Rodney was a very steady force on a veteran team.

Hood’s game has changed little since I saw him on the AAU trail, with the exception of some natural physical growth.  But his frame can still use some muscle, and that is what Duke Strength and Conditioning Coach Will Stephens will focus on as Rodney sits out his transfer season at Duke. One of the things that impressed Hood on his visit was the Duke facilities, which are NBA-quality, and frankly a far cry from what he was used to in Starkeville. Sources also say he liked the structure of the team and its organization, something that he found lacking at MSU.

For the record, we here at BDN never wavered from the position that Hood was a Duke lean, and by now you guys should know how to interpret my cryptic messages enough to have figured this one out.

Rodney will be on campus this coming Wednesday, July 4th, and he will participate in the N.C. Pro-Am.  We’ll head over to that event provided we can stand the ridiculous heat.

Freshman Rasheed Sulaimon is already on campus and getting accustomed to his surroundings. He is hanging with the guys, including Nolan Smith who is in town. Quinn Cook arrived today as well, and he is ready to hit the ground running after spending a lot of time with Nolan in Portland. Tyler Thornton and Josh Hairston will be back around the 4th of July as well, and all should play in the Pro-Am.  Seth Curry played in the opening night of the event and played well.  He and some teammates even picked up Sulaimon at RDU yesterday.

Ryan Kelly has fully recovered from his injury and Mason Plumlee is looking stronger than ever.  Both benefited from their time at the Amare Stoudemire Camp, and they have both been working on adding new shots to their offensive arsenals.

Alex Murphy is stuffing the stat sheet for Finland’s National Team this summer.  The staff has been very impressed with his play and progress since he’s arrived over a year ago.

Mike Krzyzewski and the staff circled the wagons after the Lehigh loss and decided they wanted more athleticism and toughness, and I believe they are on the road to reshaping future rosters in that way. But don’t get caught looking ahead, for they are more than a little excited about this season’s team, especially because Coach loves flying just under the radar on the national scene. The staff feels this year’s team will be able to defend the perimeter better and is excited about using the length of Murphy on the outside along with Sulaimon, Thornton, Curry and Cook.  One thing does seem odd though: Murphy and Marshall Plumlee have a year in the program under their belts, and seem like old-timers compared to Sulaimon and Jefferson.  Yet all four of them will be getting their first real minutes when the Blue Devils tip off the season.

The coaching staff is very happy with their recent recruiting successes, but there will be no rest at all. After spending some time with their respective families, Mike Krzyzewski, Chris Collins and Steve  Wojciechowski will head to Las Vegas on the 4th to work with the national team. So while they will only see the new kids on campus in passing, there are no worries, for Nate James and Jeff Capel will break them in before going back to hitting the recruiting trail hard themselves.

So where does Duke stand now with other recruits? Which direction will they go in? First of all, the staff can now afford to be a bit fluid in its approach, meaning the strategy can most certainly change depending on how some dominoes fall, but for now, let me share how I feel things are shaping up.  These are educated guesses.

The top targets are always the most talented and that means Jabari Parker and Julius Randle. However, the addition of Hood makes Randle, who is more of a banger, the top priority. Duke is all-in on Randle and they’ve made good inroads through Krzyzewski making regular calls, with Capel taking the lead assistant role. Duke will of course face the Tar Heels until the end on this one, and they too have gone all-in.  Some would even say that Randle may tip the balance of power in the rivalry. But keep in mind that UNC has other offers out and a bevy of bigs on their roster, while Duke can make him realize he is their man, and there are no others. When I say “no others” for Duke, I mean the Devils are not pushing hard with a lot of other big men at this time, but of course that could change. Randle has reshaped his body in the off-season, but what a lot of people do not know is that it was Mike Krzyzewski who made a suggestion for this to happen. If we’re not the leader for Randle, we’re certainly one of the leaders.

Meanwhile, Parker has been flirting a lot with Michigan State, but with a player of his stature, Duke will most certainly hang around.

Duke will also remain hot on Semi Ojeleye and quite frankly, I think he is the Blue Devils’ to lose, and they feel he is as enamored with them as they are with him. The bottom line is the kid is a perfect fit. This situation looks good, and it may only be a matter of time before he pulls the trigger — and it may even come soon.

Austin Nichols is a Duke-type big that would replace the loss of Ryan Kelly, so they are on him and could turn up the heat a bit more in the coming months. Nichols is being hit up hard by other schools too, but Duke remains in decent shape.  The Devils are also still interested in Nichols’s AAU teammate, shooting guard Robert Hubbs.

The picture is a little less clear past these two.  Al Freeman has faded a bit but remains a possibility. Duke could chase another big man, but are not doing so now.  We are completely out of the picture with scoring point guard Anthony “Cat” Barber,  who was never formally offered.

The Blue Devils still have interest in Ish Wainright and Marcus Lee as well.  I still think it may be hard to pry Lee away from the west coast, and the need for Wainright could diminish should Ojeleye pull the trigger for Duke.

Everything is still good with 2013 commit Matt Jones, although I can hear many of you getting worried about us being too loaded at that shooting guard spot.  Well, we are.  But it will play out — as it always does.  I’ll be discussing this later.

As for players beyond the class of 2013, we’ll cover that the next go-round.

To summarize, there is an overall positive feel around the program right now.  Recruiting is in a good place.  Duke and Coach K will remain in the limelight all summer, as Team USA goes for gold in London. We’ll cover several more recruiting events this summer and the Pro-Am, and we continue to work behind the scenes on site changes, including a facelift.

Thanks for being a member of Blue Devil Nation Premium.  Go Duke! [/private]

Rodney Hood - BDN Photo

Rodney Hood to Duke

Rodney Hood – BDN Photo

The Duke Blue Devils made a key addition to their basketball program on Saturday when Rodney Hood, a 6’8″ transfer from Mississippi State, sent word he had chosen the Blue Devils over Ohio State.  Hood, from Meridian, Mississippi, is a former Gatorade Player of the Year in that state, and was rated as high as the 16th best high school player in his class.  He was named to the Southeastern Conference’s All-Freshman team this past season after averaging 10.3 points and 4.8 rebounds for the Bulldogs.  While Hood is not eligible to play until the 2013-14 season, when he will be a sophomore, he will be able to practice with the team this year.

 

 

miles plumlee

Duke Basketball Notebook – A busy month ahead!

In this week’s edition of Duke Basketball Notebook, we’ve got a number of things going on in and around the program that we wanted to let you in on.  As you probably can imagine, there is no off-season for Duke Basketball and this month and the rest of summer feature a bevy of interesting “happenings.”  Let’s take a look:
- The NBA Draft goes off this week and the Duke Blue Devils will have two players selected, Austin Rivers and Miles Plumlee.  Rivers seems to be moving up as the draft nears, which is exactly what we told you would happen when he was initially projected to go around 17th in the first round.  Rivers’s transition to the NBA will likely be much easier than others’ due to the guidance of his father, and perhaps NBA types are considering Doc’s influence as well as the skills that Austin brings to the table.  We are also going to honk our horn on Miles a bit, in that we let you know early on that the eldest Plumlee was impressing many with his measurements and skill set at pre-draft workouts.  Now everybody is raving about Plumlee, and it could not be happening to a nicer kid.  It also goes to show that playing less at a top flight program is sometimes better than playing a lot at a bad one.  Miles wears his NCAA Championship ring with pride and we hope one day he has another ring to add to it.
- Speaking of rings, Shane Battier added another one as the Miami Heat won the NBA title.  Battier played a huge role, knocking down timely three point shots and making key steals, tips, and other heady plays to help seal victories.  Shane is already benefitting from the hype.
- In other NBA news, former Duke star Danny Ferry is the new General Manager of the Atlanta Hawks.  Ferry has deep roots in the league through his father Bob Ferry, who was the long-time GM of the Washington franchise.
- While the rosters have yet to be officially announced, the N.C. Pro-Am kicks off later this week, and as we have been since the event’s inception, Blue Devil Nation will be there to report.  This event provides some of the best basketball entertainment that can be found in the dog days of summer, and the price is right — attendance is free.  This year, they’ve cut back to eight teams and there will be three nights of action.  We’ll have more on the logistics and other particulars in the coming week.  But regardless, we’ll be in our customary spot in the end zone, so stop by and say hello.
- The Duke Men’s Basketball staff will head to Las Vegas shortly, and be gone through July 4th.   Mike Krzyzewski is trying to bring another Olympic gold medal home from jolly old England this summer, and he’ll have his trusty blokes, Chris Collins and Steve Wojciechowski, in tow.  Several exhibition games have already been set, and we’ll follow Team USA as we always have in the past, so be sure to bookmark the site for updates.
- During the coaches’ absence, assistants Jeff Capel and Nate James will take center stage on the AAU circuit, so Duke will still be well represented at the great events remaining this summer, many of which BDN will cover.
- Don’t forget that Alex Murphy will be playing for the Finnish National Team this summer.  He will earn a lot of burn, which can only help him in the coming season.  We told you long ago that Alex would be suiting up for Finland, and here is a video from last March where he spoke of his redshirt season and playing for Finland.
- Meanwhile, Mason Plumlee and Ryan Kelly are participating in the Amare Stoudemire Big Man Camp.  If you were a BDN Premium member, you would have known about this weeks ago.  Plumlee and Kelly will be seasoned senior leaders this season for Duke, and if history repeats itself, that should bode well.  Having veteran leaders is big come March.
- This is the week coveted transfer Rodney Hood will suppoosedly announce his decision.  Hood is down to Duke and Ohio State, and I feel good about the Blue Devils’ chances.  As you may have learned in an interview BDN Premium had with Hood before his senior year in high school, he grew up a Duke fan, and some say that by Thursday we will know where the long and lean prospect will be balling for the remainder of his college career.  Many leakers are saying he is bound for Columbus, but our suggestion is to take a wait-and-see approach.
- For more on where other Duke players will be this summer, join BDN Premium.  Speaking of our Premium service, our interviews continue to draw raves for their timeliness and their detail.  Andrew Slater is doing a great job for us (as is the rest of our staff) and we invite you to join and discuss all the latest with fellow members.  We have a lot of interviews coming soon, an early bird Duke hoops preview, as well as much more on the football recruiting trail, where Patrick Cacchio’s work is second to none.  If you are looking for a reliable source of timely information, BDN Premium is that place.  In our latest offering, for example, recruiting insider Van Coleman takes a look at Duke and national prospects in an exclusive with BDN.  BDN Premium features the nation’s best talent scouts, from Tom Konchalski and Clark Francis to the aforementioned Coleman, to give our members the best information available from a variety of well known, tried and true sources.
- Finally, BDN is looking for a couple of people to add to our team.  Most recently we have added Tom Rubinson, who will act as our lead editor and will write some feature articles as well.  Tom has already added a lot to our site and his wordsmithing will be part and parcel of a new and improved BDN as we make some important changes to the site.  We’ll talk more about those changes when we get closer to implementing them.  If you are an outstanding writer, we have a soap box for you.  You must know the program well and have some experience in the field.  We are looking for a person to cover “Dukies in the NBA” on a regular basis next season, and somebody to help us get more proactive and creative with our use of videos.   Our football coverage has grown  immensely and Patrick is looking for a sidekick to help there too.  In addition, we are looking for somebody who has a keen interest in Duke Women’s Basketball and who can cover their games and the program as a whole.  If you have any interest in these volunteer positions or want to know more, please contact me at watzone@bluedevilnation.net

NBAPA Top 100 Camp Day Two – Gbinije is the camps 6th leading scorer

Duke verbal Tyler Adams (blue) goes for a rebound at the NBAPA Camp. For all the skinny on prospects join Blue Devil Nation Premium.

CHARLOTTESVILLE – One of the coaches and mentors at the NBAPA Top 100 Camp is former Blue Devil Chris Duhon.  We chatted with Duhon and you’ll hear what he had to say early next week.  If you think he was taking it easy on the kids in drills think again.  He stuffed one camper as he went up for a jump shot to challenge the free agent.

Soon to be Blue Devil Tyler Adams again challenged all comers on the glass, grabbing 10 rebounds in one of the days games.  Adams was sporting a wrist support by tonight’s game and he told BDN he sprained the wrist during the morning session.  The injury happened earlier this AAU season.  Adams intimidated [private] a couple of players into turnovers, but he needs work on his help defense.  One thing I loved was that it was Adams, the man in the middle talking to his teammates directing them to men on the defensive end.  In short, he knew where to be on the court.  Bottom line is that the Celtics only consistent player is Adams who went for 11 and 15 points on Friday.

Will the real Rodney Hood please stand up!  If you are a member of BDN Premium you may remember that Duke was once looking at the Mississippi native.  Hood seemingly regressed dropping in the rankings, but if his play during the NBAPA Camp is something he can repeat on a regular basis, then he is back and once again moving up in the rankings.  Hood told BDN that his list of schools were firm at around nine, but he said if the right team came in he’d open the door.  For what it’s worth, Hood’s dream school growing up was, you got it, Duke.

We checked out Rodney Purvis and secured an interview and I must say the 2013 prospect is as advertised.

And then there is Deuce Bello.  Wow!  This guy is good.  The first year I saw him he was but an athlete but he is know turning into a smarter basketball player that has a really solid handle and blow by speed.  Easily one of the tournaments best and most consistent players.  Bello is averaging 12.0 ppg.

A big guy that was calling for the ball today was named Marshall Plumlee.  The Duke prospect was more aggressive today and he once again drew several fouls.  Unlike last evening, he nailed his free throws today.  As we noted Plumlee will visit Virginia after the event where he will meet with Coach Bennett.  However, a good meeting took place with Coach K and Wojo recently and considering his brothers are at Duke, I kind of think he will opt that way in due time.  Plumlees scoring numbers from today were  6 and 2.

After a great start in the event, Amile Jefferson’s game tailed off significantly on the offense in the early game

Man was I happy to see J.P. Tokoto get a few points in.  Tokoto started the game with two air balls and they were some kind of ugly ten to fifteen foot shots.  He finally got an easy one and then nailed one from the outside.  That means he is averaging a whopping 1.0 ppg good for 103rd in scoring.  He’s a good player for sure but needs serious work on the offensive end of the court, especially with his outside game.  I really think he needs to play for his AAU teams 17 U team to get better.  Despite the rumors of a Carolina lean which may be true for him, his stepfather will not let him rush into a decision and this one will go on for a bit.

Then there is Kaleb Tarczewskiwho seems warm when talking of Duke.  Coach K gave him a call not long ago and Chris Collins started the ball rolling.  This 2012 kid is going to be a good center in college and he is not afraid to mix it up.  He blocked Cody Zellers shot so hard that he hit the floor.  He threw down two moster slams as well, but Zeller had his best game of the tournament scoring 20.  It was Tarczewski’s teams first loss.

Then there was Michael Gbinije, the silent assassin who tossed in 16 and 15 points making him the camps 6th leading scorer. [/private]

Prospect Rodney Hood grew up a Duke fan

Rodney Hood  (6-6, 185, Meridan, MS, Class of 2011) – Hood likes to play facing the basket, looking for open lanes to slip through.  He has a smooth stroke

Rodney Hood - BDN Photo
Rodney Hood - BDN Photo

from the outside and a decent handle, but needs to play with more aggression.  He disappeared for several minutes at a time during three games I took in at the TOC.  Hood would put together a good half, only to score a bucket or less in the half.  He plays fairly good defense and can help out when teammates are beat to the rim.  There were two occasions where I saw him block what looked like easy lay ins from the side or behind the opponent.  He is a true wing player that will likely get better with seasoning.  He scored 23 points in a game I took in at the Boo Williams Invitational earlier in the AAU season.  Prep Stars has rated Hood around the 20th best player in his class at the moment.  With consistency, he can prove that rating valid for he has the tools necessary to become a good college player.

Rodney Hood! Tell me about your game?

I’m a competitor, I like to win and I do what it takes to win for my team.  I’m like a slasher and shooter and I like to get my teammates involved.

Did you have a dream school growing up?

It was Duke. [private]  When I was little I was a Duke fan back when Shane Battier was playing, but right now I really don’t have one.

Is Duke actually recruiting you?

Yes sir.  I’ve been able to talk to Nate James.

So, you will play in Cameron this weekend?

Actually, we are suppose to play there tomorrow.

Who will you look to when you get serious about choosing a school?

My Mom and Dad.  My brother!  He used to beat me up on the court all the time.

Which schools are recruiting you?

Georgia Tech, Baylor, Clemson, Duke, N.C. State, Wake Forest, Alabama and a few more.

How many of those schools have offered.  Pretty much all of them except for Duke.

So, would you like an offer from them?

Yes sir.  It would be a good accomplishment to get an offer from Duke.  I’m just playing hard trying to get better in the summer.

How would you describe your game to someone who had never seen you play?

A competitor, I always go hard and I like to win.  I can shoot, I can drive or pass it off.  I can do a lot of things.

I’ll let you get to your next game, good luck!

Thank you. [/private]