It seems like a huge claim at first, but he has less competition then imagined. Rodney Hood became Coach K’s fourth ever transfer when he transferred to Duke from Mississippi State. He joins Roshown McLeod (St. Johns), Dahntay Jones (Rutgers), and Seth Curry (Liberty) as Coach K’s only basketball transfers. Hood joined a prestigious list, but can he prove himself as the best on the list.
In Rodney Hood’s freshman year at Mississippi St., he averaged 10.3 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game while making the SEC All-Freshman team. His underachieving Mississippi St. team lost in the first round of the NIT to Umass. He was two time Mississippi Gatorade Player of the Year in high school. He was ranked the 30th recruit by ESPN. He has every quality of a Duke player and will be an athletic small forward that Duke has missed since Kyle Singler graduated. He will have a starting role for Duke in his first year and will look to have a huge impact on an extremely talented team.
Roshown McLeod played small forward for Duke for two seasons, from 1996-98. During his two seasons, he averaged 13.6 points and 5.4 rebounds per game in just under 24 minutes. He was never on a final four team, but did make it to the elite eight. He was drafted 20th in the NBA Draft to the Atlanta Hawks and played 3 seasons before getting a career ending injury. McLeod is not well known among Duke fans but was a very productive player. His skills on the court were similar to Hood’s, and Hood will look to have similar stats but where Hood could pass McLeod is in team and NBA success.
Dahntay Jones played shooting guard and small forward for two seasons at Duke, from 2001-03. He averaged 14.3 points and 4.8 rebounds per game in just under 30 minutes. He played for two talented Duke teams but never made it past the Sweet Sixteen. He was drafted 20th overall in the NBA Draft to the Boston Celtics and is still in the NBA. His best season was 2009-10 when he averaged 10 points, 3 rebounds, and 2 assists for the Indiana Pacers. Like McLeod, Rodney Hood will look to have similar college stats but more team and NBA success. Jones is another very talented transfer that will provide stiff competition for Rodney Hood.
The final transfer for Hood to outperform is Seth Curry. Seth Curry played guard at Duke for three seasons, from 2010-13. He averaged 13.2 points, 2.3 rebounds and 1.9 assists in just under 30 minutes. Seth Curry played in an Elite Eight and Sweet Sixteen, and Duke won a championship during his transfer year. He was not drafted in the most recent NBA Draft but is still looking to achieve his NBA Dream (http://balldurham.com/2013/06/30/seth-currys-nba-dream-has-not-ended/). Rodney Hood will likely be the better NBA player, but will have a tough time having Curry’s impact at Duke. Coach K called Curry’s senior year one of the best he’s ever seen. Rodney Hood would need to play three extremely good years to beat Seth Curry’s overall Duke impact. The only real way to beat Seth Curry would be to help lead Duke to a Championship.
It will be really tough for Rodney Hood to emerge as the top college player among the transfers without leading Duke to a National Championship. Even if he stays just two years, he will have a great opportunity to win one. He will likely put up similar college statistics to the other three guys and will end up with them in terms of college impact.
The way I see Rodney Hood distinguishing himself from the rest is with his NBA career. Curry was undrafted, McLeod’s career was cut short due to injuries, and Jones has been a career role player. I see Rodney Hood having a longer NBA career then Curry and McLeod, while having a larger role then Jones. Hood has the skill to be a starting NBA wing and will continue to improve. I do not think Hood will be a star but he will be a better NBA player then the other three.
I think Hood’s overall Duke impact will come down to whether he wins a National Championship. He is on Duke teams that have the ability to win one and he could push them to win one. If he can, he will go down as the best Coach K transfer. If he is unable to, he will be in the middle of a great group. All in all, I think Rodney Hood has a great chance to be a star at Duke and be the name everyone thinks of when they hear, “Coach K’s transfers.”