DURHAM — One day after the news broke, Duke announced that redshirt sophomore Rodney Hood will enter the 2014 NBA draft. He joins Jabari Parker, who announced he was leaving Thursday.
Hood transferred from Mississippi State to Duke before the 2012-13 season. He was ineligible to play that season due to the transfer rules, but coach Mike Krzyzewski named him a captain before this past season, his only one on the court at Duke. Hood a second team All-ACC pick, averaged 16.1 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.1 assists per game.
"Playing at Duke was a lifelong dream. Everything I experienced here has helped me grow and develop as a player and as a person," Hood said in a statement released by the school. "The fan support during the year I sat out and the year I played was something that I will remember for a lifetime. Now it is time to move on to the next level and chase my dream of becoming an NBA player."
Hoods decision to leave was foreshadowed by Mike Krzyzewski on March 14, after Duke held on to beat Clemson in the ACC tournament quarterfinals. Hood overcame nausea during the second half (which happened several times during the year) to score a personal postseason-high 17 points.
"I wish he had him more than one year," Krzyzewski said after the game.
On Friday, in the school statement, Krzyzewski said, "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."
At one point this winter, Hood was projected to be a lottery pick, but his stock has fallen since his performance in Dukes loss to Mercer in the NCAA tournament, and hes now expected to be a mid-to-late first round pick. He will be 22 before the start of the NBA season, and teams love his pure, left-handed shot, which he can hit from nearly everywhere. But they worry about his short wingspan, ability to finish around the rim, lack of strength and defensive abilities.
This marks the first year since 2002 that the Blue Devils have lost more than one player early to the NBA draft (that year Jason Williams, Mike Dunleavy and Carlos Boozer left after their junior seasons). The coaching staff was planning on Parker and Hood departing, and the top-rated recruiting class, with four McDonalds all-Americans, will have Duke in contention for the preseason No. 1 ranking.
Keeley: 919-829-4556; Twitter: @laurakeeley