Duke basketball names Rodney Hood a captain for 2013-14 season
Head coach Mike Krzyzewski revealed in his first press conference of the season Friday that Hood would serve as the Blue Devils' captain alongside senior Tyler Thornton.
"It means a lot, especially since I haven't played here yet," Hood said. "My teammates have a great respect for me and my coaching staff as well, so it's just an honor to be named team captain, and I'm going to try my best to do the best I can."
Hood sat out the entire 2012-13 season after transferring to Duke from Mississippi State, where the 6-foot-8 forward averaged 10.3 points and 4.8 rebounds as a freshman.
In addition to the captaincy, Hood also received the greatest indication of approval from his team—a vote from his head coach.
"I voted for him, so I won," Krzyzewski said. "We get a feel for what the team wants, and we as a staff then look at it and we decide. I'm not surprised about Rodney. Rodney, every day last year... he handled that situation unbelievably well."
During his redshirt season, Hood's limitations extended off the basketball court. The Meridian, Miss. native was unable to travel with his team for away games. As a result, when the Blue Devils make their sweep through the ACC this season, their new captain will be seeing a number of opposing arenas for the very first time.
Hood is the first sophomore to hold the title of captain since Greg Paulus and Josh McRoberts led a young Duke team with junior DeMarcus Nelson for the 2006-07 season.
Although Hood was unable to play for the Blue Devils last season, he served a vital role in practice as two of Duke's three senior captains battled injuries throughout the season. With Ryan Kelly and Seth Curry often watching from the sidelines, Hood's presence allowed the Blue Devils to run 5-on-5 drills in practice.
Krzyzewski added that aside from making the players around him better, Hood may have also been the most explosive player on last year's team.
"Many times [Hood] was our best player," Krzyzewski said. "Now being the best player with a blue shirt and no pressure on you, we'll see now with a white shirt and pressure on you what happens. But I think good things will happen."
Hood's versatility was on full display Saturday as the Blue Devils took the floor for an open practice. He and freshman forward Jabari Parker showcased their court sense as Duke gave the world a first look at a scheme that utilizes a transition offense and full-court defense.
Showcasing his skills for the first time since last year's Countdown to Craziness, Hood looked incredibly comfortable within the flow of the Blue Devil offense, showcasing his slashing ability and lefty jumper throughout the two-hour practice.
Parker said that Hood was one of the players who surprised him the most since first stepping on campus late in the summer. Although he is regarded as one of the top freshmen in the country, Parker added that he continues to learn from his new captain every day.
"You have to have your best player a captain and the leader of the team," Parker said. "You have to have him anticipate that role, just like every other team that you see. Kobe [Bryant] is the captain of the Lakers, you see LeBron [James] and [Dwyane] Wade at the Heat, so I think Rodney needs to take that role so we can climb on his back."