Duke Basketball: Breaking Down the Recruiting Battle for Transfer Rodney Hood
Just three weeks ago, Rodney Hood announced he would transfer from Mississippi State to Duke. This news came on the heels of former Mississippi State men's basketball coach Rick Stansbury's retirement.
Shortly into the recruiting process, Hood narrowed his list of schools to Duke, Ohio State and Memphis.
Hood, who was selected to the SEC All-Freshman Team last season, averaged 10.3 points and 4.8 rebounds per game last year and was a hot commodity as soon as he announced his intention to leave Starkville.
Let's take a look at each of the aforementioned schools' recruitment of Hood and why he ultimately chose to become a Blue Devil.
Early in June, Hood took a visit to the University of Memphis. The addition of Hood would have given coach Josh Pastner his third 5-star recruit since he took over for John Calipari in 2009—in addition to Will Barton and Adonis Thomas.
While Memphis was not one of the numerous schools to recruit Hood out of high school, they certainly showed interest after his stellar freshman season at Mississippi State. Hood finished as the Bulldogs' third-best scorer as well as the team's third-best rebounder.
Due to NCAA rules, Hood would be required to sit out the 2012-2013 season after he transfers. With most people expecting Thomas to make the leap to the NBA—assuming he improves in his sophomore season—adding Hood to the Tigers could have given them a legitimate star going forward.
In the end, Memphis just wasn't the right fit for the Mississippi native. It seems that Hood wanted a head coach with a little more prestige.
A few weeks after his visit to Memphis, Hood narrowed his list to just two schools.
Hood told SNY.tv at the Kevin Durant Skills Academy that he would choose between two top-tier programs (via Sportingnews.com):
When I get home from this camp, the day after I’ll pick a school between Duke and Ohio State.
Buckeye wing-man LaQuinton Ross is a Mississippi native and a good friend of Hood. Ross was one of the reasons the 6'8" sophomore was considering OSU.
In addition to Ross, Hood was also impressed with the rest of the Buckeye players (via Sportingnews.com):
I’m just going to make my decision. It’s the second time around so I want to make the best decision for me. I just like the coaching staff (at Ohio State) and ‘Q’ (former AAU teammate LaQuinton Ross) is a bonus. But I like the players and I just like the basketball part of it.
It was clear that Hood was going to take his time and weigh all of the pros and cons of both options. While coach Thad Matta has turned Ohio State into a premier basketball program, it's tough to compete with the likes of Mike Krzyzewski and Duke—I mean, it's Duke.
Buckeye fans were elated when they learned that Hood had skipped out on the Coach K Academy to visit Columbus. However, he made up for it when he took a visit to Duke a few weekends later.
Like most recruits that visit Durham, Hood had nothing but good things to say about the players, coach and program (via Elevenwarriors.com):
I went to the visit and I got to talk with Coach K eye to eye and the rest of the coaching staff. I met some of the players. You know, it just felt great. When you go to Duke you’re playing on the highest level of college basketball and the tradition there is great so it was good to go visit.
Hood will have three years of eligibility after the 2012-2013 season and coach K will be hoping to get all three out of the 6'8" wing. Duke is desperate for athleticism and offensive production from the small forward position and Hood will provide both.
After deciding to play at Duke, Hood credited coach Mike Krzyzewski with being the deciding factor (via ESPN):
He was pretty honest with me...He said he can make me a better basketball player and one of the best in the country. His track record speaks for itself. I could tell he believed in me as a player.
Hood was a top-40 recruit out of high school and with Krzyzewski's coaching, he could become one of the best players in the country. While Hood won't be able to help the Dukies this season, his patience—and the patience of Duke—will likely pay off tremendously down the road.