Meridian Star

Sports

June 27, 2014

Former MHS standout Hood selected in 1st round

MERIDIAN —     SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The Utah Jazz selected Duke forward Rodney Hood with the No. 23 pick of the NBA draft Thursday night.

    Hood, 21, played one year at Mississippi State and then sat out a season before averaging 16.1 points and shooting 42 percent from behind the 3-point line as a team captain at Duke.

    The 6-foot-8, 215-pound forward was named to the 2014 All-ACC second Team and is the first Duke player ever drafted by the Jazz, who recently hired former Duke player Quin Snyder as their head coach.

    The left-handed sharpshooter gives Utah some insurance in case the team is not able to retain restricted free agent Gordon Hayward. Hood can score off the dribble and is regarded as a good defender.

    Some analysts had Hood ranked as a mid-first rounder, and Hood indicated in a television interview following his selection he was ready to prove the teams that passed on him wrong.

    “I’m very excited just to get to Utah and play with those guys,” Hood said in the interview. “I have a big chip on my shoulder now, and I’m ready to get there.”

    Earlier in the draft, the Jazz selected Australian guard Dante Exum with the fifth overall pick.

    The 6-foot-6 teenager burst onto the scene at the U19 FIBA World Championship in Prague as his team advanced to the semifinals. He averaged 18.2 points during the tournament and decided to enter the draft instead of playing collegiately in the U.S.

    Exum, 18, had limited exposure until that event and did not work out for the Jazz in the weeks leading up to the draft. But his father, Cecil, won a national championship at North Carolina in 1982 with Michael Jordan and James Worthy.

    Exum, who led his high school to the 2013 Australian School Championship, is believed to be able to play alongside Trey Burke at shooting guard or play the point.

 

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