“Shooting the ball is what I do best,” said Hood, who averaged 16.1 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.1 assists as a sophomore at Duke. “But I think I do pretty much everything well.”
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Versatile Hood working to get stronger

By Adam Fluck | 06.17.2014 

Rodney Hood knows his ability to shoot the basketball is usually the first thing to jump out at those who watch him play. 

The former Duke standout hopes that some of his other attributes, from his size to his athleticism to his versatility, are what will really make him appealing to teams as draft night nears.

“Shooting the ball is what I do best,” said Hood during last month’s NBA Draft Combine in Chicago. “But I think I do pretty much everything well.” 

Hood, a 6-9, 208-pound shooting guard, is working his way into the professional ranks after a sophomore season in which he was named to the 2014 All-ACC second team. He averaged 16.1 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.1 assists in 32.9 minutes as the Blue Devils compiled a record of 26-9. 

Hood, 21, led the ACC in three-point percentage, connecting on 71 of 169 attempts (42.0 percent). It goes to show why Hood calls shooting the ball his “staple” and also illustrates that he knows how to take advantage of his length, similar to Indiana’s Paul George. 

“I’ve got great size for my position,” said Hood. “I think I can come in and play the two or the three. It really doesn’t matter.” 

As a high school senior, Hood averaged 24.8 points, 8.6 rebounds, 6.4 assists, 3.1 steals and 2.0 blocks in leading Meridian, Miss. to the Class 6A championship and a 29-2 record. He was twice named the state’s Gatorade Player of the Year. 

When it was time to select a college, he decided to follow in his parents’ footsteps and go to at Mississippi State. Hood’s father, Ricky, and mother, Vicky, both played basketball there from 1978-80. 

Hood was named to the SEC All-Freshman Team after averaging 10.3 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.0 assists during the 2011-12 season. But when Bulldogs coach Rick Stansbury departed Mississippi State after 14 seasons, Hood decided to do the same. He transferred to Duke in the summer of 2012 and sat out a season per NCAA transfer rules. 

It was a transition that seems to have paid off for Hood. Now, as he prepares for another move, this one to the NBA, getting stronger is among his top priorities. 

“There are certain things I want to work on, learning how to play lower because people are going to try and bump me, especially my first couple years,” acknowledged Hood. “But I’m adjusting well. I’ve been working real hard trying to get my body right and it’s been a good adjustment.” 

Hood is confident that wherever he ends up, his size and skillset will allow him to contribute. If he were to land with the Bulls, he believes it would be an excellent fit.

“Most definitely,” said Hood. “Especially with Derrick [Rose] coming back, being able to push the ball and find shooters. I think that’s something they lacked this year and I could come in right away and knock down shots for them.” 

Bulls.com was in attendance at the NBA Draft Combine May 15-16 in Chicago and this is the sixth in a series of looks at some of the projected first round picks. The Bulls currently own three selections in this summer’s June 26 draft—16th, 19th and 49th. 

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