Duke Basketball: Setting Expectations for Rodney Hood's 2014 Season

David AldridgeFeatured ColumnistMay 9, 2013

Jan 25, 2012; Starkville, MS, USA; Mississippi State Bulldogs guard Rodney Hood (4) carries the ball up the court during the game against the LSU Tigers  at the Humphrey Coliseum.  Mississippi State Bulldogs defeated the LSU Tigers 76-71.  Mandatory Credit: Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports
Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Krzyzewski and the Duke basketball program have developed a knack for finding valuable transfers over the past decade.

Dahntay Jones joined the Blue Devils in 2001 after transferring from Rutgers and went on to become an All-ACC player during his senior season. Then, Seth Curry transferred to Duke in 2009 after spending a year at Liberty and became one of the most proficient scorers in school history. Curry also earned All-American honors from Sporting News during his senior season.

Now, the Blue Devils are hoping for big things from Rodney Hood, a talented transfer from Mississippi State.

The question is whether or not Hood can handle the pressure and expectations at Duke.

In his freshman season at Mississippi State, Hood averaged 10 points and four rebounds per game while shooting 44 percent from the field. He was an important part of the team and averaged 32 minutes per game while being named to the SEC's All-Freshman team.

At Duke, he'll be in a situation where he has more talented players around him, but many are expecting his productivity to also increase.

There have been rumors around the program that Hood was the best player in Duke's practices last season, and his teammates are expecting his skills to be on full display this coming season.

According to the Duke Chronicle, teammate Alex Murphy stated, "The best thing about playing against Rodney everyday is I think he is as good of a player as there is in the country."

At 6'8", 210 pounds, Hood brings an intriguing mix of size, athleticism and skill that makes him a very valuable weapon for Krzyzewski. He can knock down perimeter shots, but he also brings the ability to create off the dribble and get to the basket. His length and leaping ability also provide him the tools to be an outstanding defender.

After having a year to practice with the team and learn from Coach K and the rest of the Duke coaching staff, Hood should be able to make a relatively seamless transition to playing in the ACC.

He's also fortunate to be playing in a lineup that will include Quinn Cook, Rasheed Sulaimon, Jabari Parker and Amile Jefferson, which means he won't have to worry about carrying the team, and he can pick his spots in the offense.

In many ways, Hood's game has many similarities to Grant Hill, one of the greatest Blue Devils of all time.

The threat to score from anywhere on the floor and the ability to guard multiple positions on defense made Hill an extremely effective player, and Hood can be used in the same way.

During Hill's second season of college basketball, he averaged 14 points, 5.7 rebounds and four assists per game. Look for Hood to put up similar numbers in what will be his second year of college basketball.

And if Hood's second season ends the same way Hill's second season ended, the Blue Devils will be cutting down the nets in Arlington at the Final Four.