Hornets looking at Duke's Hood in draft
Given a second chance, Rodney Hood made a favorable impression on the Charlotte Hornets’ brass – including owner Michael Jordan – on Tuesday.
The former Duke star, whose workout for Charlotte was cut short last week due to what he called a stomach virus, returned to the Hornets practice facility two days before the NBA Draft. The Hornets own the No. 9 and No. 24 picks in the first round.
“He played well today,” Hornets coach Steve Clifford said during a meeting with reporters following the workout. “It was a good matchup and it was intense. He did a lot of things. He hit mid-range jumpers, he drove the ball to the basket and he rebounded well. It was 3 on 3 but he went and got the ball. He’s a versatile player.”
The 6-8 Hood, a 42 percent 3-point shooter who averaged 16.1 points during his lone season at Duke, has improved his draft stock this much such that he is expected to be picked anywhere from as high as No. 8 (Sacramento) to the middle of the first round.
Tuesday was his 11th workout for NBA teams. Charlotte and Phoenix brought him back twice.
His aim has been to show that, while he’s an excellent shooter, he has more to his game.
"That I've got different parts to my game that I can score the ball and that I'm not just a shooter,” Hood told reporters on Tuesday. “Today, we did a lot in the post and the mid-post. Of course, I know I can shoot the ball. But I wanted to put the ball on the floor and defend. I think I did a good job today.”
Clifford agreed, adding that Hood’s left-handedness is also a plus.
“I would say yes because the higher level you play, contesting shots is such a big deal,” Clifford said. “Being left-handed, obviously you’re going to contest with your other hand which is not a normal habit for good defenders. I think it is an advantage.”
Hood said the stomach bug that afflicted him last week was unrelated to the bouts of vomiting that plagued him a half-dozen times for Duke last season. Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said Hood’s intensity led to those issues, which caused him to temporarily leave games.
But Hood said Tuesday that issue is under control.
“I haven't had any problems like that,” Hood said. “I'm just watching what I eat.
Now Hood heads to New York City, where he’ll take part in pre-draft festivities on Wednesday and will be in the NBA’s green room as an invited guest along with other top prospects for Thursday night’s draft at Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn.
"It's going to be great,” said Hood, who grew up in Meridian, Miss.” A small town kid getting a chance to go to New York and experience a dream. It doesn't matter where I get picked or how high I go, I just want to hear my name get called.”