Emotional Hood lives his NBA dream

Jun. 26, 2014 @ 11:21 PM

The night of a basketball lifetime included a gamut of emotions for Duke’s Rodney Hood.

Invited to attend the NBA Draft at the Barclays Center as one of the top 20 players, he watched 18 of them walk up to the stage when their names were called by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver.

Hood’s anticipation rattled inside of him for more than two hours. But he later said he remained calm.

“You know, obviously, everybody wants to go high and things like that,” Hood said. “But me, I knew it was coming one way or another. I’m just happy to land in a good spot.”

In between his relief and his stated happiness, Hood said in a halting voice how much it meant for him to go from a small-town kid in Mississippi to the NBA.

“Man it's unbelievable,” Hood said. “You think of the odds.”

Then Hood paused and tried to compose himself as tears filled his eyes.

“Excuse me,” Hood told the gathered reporters before continuing. “Just a little kid playing at the Boys and Girls Club. I want to be like a big brother. Getting a chance to walk across the stage and give some people some hope from where I’m from, it means a lot.”

Utah was among the few teams that did not fly Hood in for a pre-draft workout. He’s never been to Salt Lake City.

But he’s grateful. Yes, another emotion on a roller-coaster night.

“I’m interested to go there,” Hood said. “They’ve got a good up and coming team, right there on the verge of being a playoff team and making a run. I’m just happy to be a part of the organization. I have to get use to it, but that’s any city really.”