This weekend, reports surfaced that Mississippi State wing player Rodney Hood will transfer to Duke, selecting the Blue Devils over Ohio State, among others. The 6-foot-8 wing averaged 10.3 points and 4.8 rebounds per game as a freshman, nailing 1.5 3-pointers per game. After sitting out the 2012-2013 season, he will be eligible to play for Duke in 2013-2014.
The Chronicle’s Andrew Beaton and Brady Buck sat down to analyze the importance of his commitment to Duke, how he fits on the roster and how it may or may not affect other recruiting targets.
Andrew Beaton: Brady, what was your reaction to hearing the news that Hood chose Duke?
Brady Buck: Obviously it is a huge get. Blue Devil fans have been on pins and needles the past few weeks anxiously awaiting a decision. The addition of Hood gives Duke a potential future NBA first round draft pick.
Beaton: I think emotionally it is a big get for Duke–after losing early in the NCAA Tournament, Krzyzewski has made two big additions to show he’s not slowing down. First with Amile Jefferson and now with Hood, Krzyzewski showed he is still a leader in the recruiting game.
And Hood is obviously a very talented player, but I’ve also begun wondering how he is going to fit on this 2013 roster and beyond.
Buck: I think we’re starting to see Krzyzewski changing the makeup of the program. The staff has made it clear that they want to get bigger, longer and more athletic at every position, especially on the perimeter. Hood, who is a 6-foot-8 shooting guard, gives the Blue Devils a much-need injection of altheticism, size and raw talent that was largely absent in last year’s back court. He and Murphy will allow the Blue Devils to be much more versatile defensively in coming years also.
Beaton: Still, it almost feels as if they’re recruiting a need that they have right now, but Hood won’t be able to play this year. It’s just starting to look awfully crowded at that position, especially with Andre Dawkins red-shirting this year and–theoretically–coming back in 2013-2014.
Just taking a look at that 2013-2014 roster, Murphy and Hood will both be going into their sophomore seasons. Dawkins also plays that wing position, will be a senior, and he’s 6-foot-4. Shooting guard Matt Jones, class of 2013, is already committed, while fellow guard Rasheed Sulaimon is coming next year. Even Sulaimon’s classmate, Amile Jefferson, can see time at the wing.
Then, when you talk about recruiting wings like Jabari Parker and Semi Ojeleye, doesn’t it look like a logjam to them?
Buck: I don’t think you can ever have too many athletic 6-foot-6 plus wings on your roster. In 2013-14, Murphy could spend time playing the strech four position, a la Kyle Singler as a freshman. Similarly, if Ojeleye were to join the fold, he has the strength and vertical leaping ability to also play power forward position for stints. Jefferson, meanwhile, might not be physically ready to be a major contributor until he is an upperclassman.
Ultimately, the coaching staff cannot afford to come up empty handed in 2013 recruiting in the unfortunate event of missing out on top targets Jabari Parker and Julius Randle, so that’s why you are seeing a wide-net approach to recruiting this summer.
And this where things really get interesting. With Hood on board, how will it affect recruiting efforts going forward? Clearly, there is not room for every recruit that holds an offer. Parker and Randle will obviously continue to being intensely pursued and will always have a spot available if they want to come to Durham. Landing Hood has made some Duke fans wonder if Parker is now leaning towards Michigan State or Kentucky.
Beaton: I agree–it’s really a spot you can’t have too many people because depending on the other pieces on the floor; a lot of these guys can slot in anywhere from the two to the four.
Duke’s middle of the court is beginning to become really deep–the real intrigue exists in watching what Krzyzewski does with the next two recruiting classes in terms of adding people to work with those wing players. Will he be able to pull in an elite point guard like Tyus Jones? A true big to join Marshall Plumlee? Adding Hood to the roster has really made these next two recruiting classes enigmatic.
Buck: It’s no secret that Duke has struggled reel in elite post players in recent years, which is another reason we are seeing the coaching staff chase more of these big, athletic and versatile wings.
There is certainly a growing sentiment among the fan base that 2013-14 could be special year for Duke, if Krzyzewski can add a couple more key pieces. As you mentioned, Duke should be well off on the wing going forward with Matt Jones, Sulaimon, Murphy and Hood, even if Krzyzewski strikes out with his other targets. Julius Randle, in my opinion, now becomes the utmost priority for Duke because of the impending losses of Ryan Kelly and Mason Plumlee. Randle would give the Blue Devils a much-needed, Chris Webber-esque post presence at the power forward position in 2013-14.
Speaking of Tyus Jones, all reports at the moment indicate that Duke will not offer 2013 point guard Anthony Barber a scholarship seemingly due to their all-in pursuit of Jones. It looks to be a very interesting month of July. Look for Parker, as well as other recruits, to start trimming his list of prospective schools and start getting really serious about his recruitment.
Beaton: For sure. And Hood is a big pick up for Krzyzewski, I just think it is important to keep it in context and look at how it will affect the recruitments of these other guys. I bet the staff really just wishes they could have Hood on this year’s squad while Murphy and Sulaimon are still freshmen, adding an experienced presence to that middle-of-the-court crew.
And perhaps the real question is, after Hood plays a season, is he a one-and-done?