Remember when team recruiting rankings were first dropping following the National Title game and everyone was shocked that several ACC teams were amongst the top-25 and none of them were named Duke? Yeah, about that. "All" they had back then was a commitment from the consensus No. 12 player in the nation (Rasheed Sulaimon). Then in May they grabbed the No. 21 player (Amile Jefferson), and now, six weeks later, they've landed arguably the most valuable transfer of the 2011-12 season. To be clear - Rodney Hood will have to sit out a season, but he'll still be practicing with the team. He'll be working out and getting stronger. He'll be learning the system.
Hood's commitment symbolically completes the downfall at Mississippi State. Hood is gone. Dee Bost and Brian Bryant graduated. Arnett Moultrie jumped to the NBA. Renardo Sidney is doing whatever Renardo Sidney does. All of that talent and the Bulldogs barely managed an 8-8 record in the SEC. So Hood is leaving that dysfunctional environment to enter a world of hoops royalty.
Hood is a 6-8 wing cut from the classic point-forward mold. His game, as proven this year as a freshman, is ready for big time college hoops. His body is not. Sitting out a year will allow the trainers to set him up on a different workout regimen which should enable him to more quickly reshape his body. If he can add 25 pounds of good weight without sacrificing any speed or flexibility then look out.
The reason he needs to bulk up is that he hit the wall this year. His offensive rating and true shooting % both declined late in the season.
Meanwhile, his possession % remained the same. So he was playing the same role, just not as effectively.
To really be a star with his skillset, he needs to be able to knock down the three. And he made over 36% of his attempts for the season, but again, his percentage went down late in the year.College Basketball
It didn't help that he was playing 78% of the team's minutes. Still, the message is clear: get stronger. He'll have a year to do that.
The rest of his game is solid, with the exception of free throws. He can score, but he's not a slashing one-on-one player. He finds his spots, finds holes in the defense, and knocks down shots. He just never draws fouls. His free throw rate was pretty much non-existent. He attempted 287 shots and only went to the line 41 times. Andre Dawkins did a better job getting to the line.
The flip side is that he never commits fouls either. His 1.6/40 minutes would have been 3rd in the ACC. He also doesn't turn the ball over. His 10.8 turnover rate would have been the best in the ACC.
Hood is a very talented player who still has easily identifiable holes in his game. But he's a smart player. He'll learn to be more aggressive. I expect that the player we see 16 months from now will be significantly advanced from the one we were watching in March.
Actually, Hood left the Kentucky game on February 21st with a deep bone bruise in his left knee. He then missed the next one against 'Bama and came back against SCAR, ARK, UGA, and UMASS to finish out the season, although never back to pre-injury form and only averaging around 22 min. in those games (compared to 35 mpg pre-injury). I agree with you though, he needs to bulk up this season and work on drawing more fouls. GO DUKE!!!
@JeremyTheall The injury certainly complicated things, but his decline began long before Feb 21.
@Michael Rogner @JeremyTheall Before Rodney's injury, I would call his play inconsistent rather than attributing that to a "decline". After all, a lot of freshman are inconsistent bc they have to play more games in a season than they did in high school, they have to get acclimated to their new coaches, team and playbook, and they have to adjust to a higher level of competition in the college game (although the SEC was spoiled by that this year with Beal, Davis, and MKG). Regardless, Rodney was still the 3rd best player for one of the most dysfunctional programs in the country (hence the decision to transfer).
If you look at Hood's numbers game by game, he scored under 10 ppg, his season average, 4 times before conference play (scoring 9, 7, 8, and 7 points in each of those games, respectively). After SEC play started and before his injury, he did this 6 times (putting up 7, 1, 7, 7, 8, and 9). So even in those games he did not drift that far off from his season average.
I think you are being unfair to Rodney in your analysis of his numbers. As @DukeHoopBlog mentioned, a lot of guys' numbers taper off towards the end of the year, be it a freshman, a senior, or Rodney Hood. In Rodney's case, his competition also got tougher towards the end of the year. I think his injury really affected his play more than you give it credit for (as he scored single digits in every game after the injury, and had some of his worst FG %'s in the season during those games too). A better analysis would be to exclude the 5 games in which he played injured and go from there.
@Michael Rogner Was it a summary? Or was it information that you did not even mention in your article?
When did you say he played the 5th most minutes in the SEC? When did you say that it's unfair to use tempo-free statistics in this case?
I just wanted some more concrete evidence from you, and never saw it, even after I asked you when the decline started, how you came up with the percentage changes of your sample players, and why you chose those particular players for comparison (as they were in a different conference than Rodney). It's like saying the crime rate is rising without using any factual data to back it up. A lot of naive people would believe that statement (or what you said) without doing their own research, and I'm glad to say that I am not one of them. I saw the information you presented and decided to look deeper into it. I found out that Hood played his best games against a relatively weak non-conference schedule at the very beginning of the season, and his numbers started to settle down as the season went on and he faced tougher teams.
I'm sorry that you think you were personally attacked by a 19 year old. All I did was say that I didn't think you were aware of the injury before the article was posted. Hell, I even called you a great journalist.
I think you presented some good information, as did I, but that does not mean either of us are wrong. You saw Hood's season as a steady decline, while I saw it as him facing tougher competition as the season went on. Simple as that. Hope we can just agree to disagree on this. Goodbye
@JeremyTheall Jeremy, thanks for summarizing my article in your 2nd point: "Hood played the 5th most minutes out of all players in the SEC. It's obvious that he was asked to play a bigger role than any of those 15 players you mentioned above (besides maybe Austin Rivers). So it really isn't fair to compare his tempo-free stats with those other freshman, as they were not asked to play as big a role as Hood was, and thus were fresher towards the end of the year"
Hood played too many minutes and he wore down - simple, succinct, and would have saved me a lot of typing.
As for the rest, I bow out of debates once people turn to personal attacks. So you may now commence your not reading of Run the Floor.
@Michael Rogner a) I was not using Hood's point and rebound numbers to back up an argument about offensive rating or any other tempo-free stat (after all this was your argument, no?). I was using those numbers to point out that Hood's production against NCAA tournament-bound teams was not much different at the beginning of the year in comparison to the end of it (a 1.3 ppg and 0.3 rpg difference...*gasp* what a decline, especially coming from a freshman that put up the 5th most minutes out of everyone in his conference!).
b) I definitely presented factual, concrete data for Hood's schedule effects (taking into account his team's SOS, comparing his numbers against NCAA tourney-bound teams from the first half of the year to the second half, and comparing his numbers against NCAA tournament teams to his numbers against very weak teams). You, however, did nothing of the sort and could not even provide me with a date, or games, in which Hood started his "decline". Those percentages in your comment above mean nothing to me. They don't tell me what time frame you used, they don't tell me that more than half of those players' teams played a weaker schedule than Mississippi State, and they don't tell me that only Austin Rivers played more minutes than Hood did (amongst freshman in the ACC). Hell, Hood played the 5th most minutes out of all players in the SEC. It's obvious that he was asked to play a bigger role than any of those 15 players you mentioned above (besides maybe Austin Rivers). So it really isn't fair to compare his tempo-free stats with those other freshman, as they were not asked to play as big a role as Hood was, and thus were fresher towards the end of the year (I would be curious to see how his tempo-free stats compared to someone with similar minutes played, however).
c) Don't fool yourself, Mike, only 1 SEC team (Auburn) faced a weaker schedule than Mississippi State, and only 4 ACC teams (BC, G-Tech, Wake Forest, Clemson) had weaker schedules than them. Not surprisingly, half of the players you chose to compare Hood to in your comment above played for one of these teams (Jackson, Daniels, Royal, Hall, Anderson, Clifford, Fischer). Just off the top of my head, Duke and UNC played more NCAA-tournament bound teams in their non-conference play alone than Mississippi State did all year, so I think several schools would disagree that the beginning of the year is easy. A lot would even argue that they have to schedule a hard out-of-conference schedule just to get a shot at the Big Dance.
d) After this conversation is over, you will have lost a dedicated reader in myself, so congrats on that. I think it's pretty clear that you were not aware of the injury before this story was posted, otherwise you would have mentioned it, being the great journalist that you are. At the minimum, I would have expected you to mention it to DukeHoopBlog in your comment below, if you did know about it. Of course Hood was "a completely different player in Feb and March". He had his second poorest performance of the year on 2/18 against Auburn (immediately preceding his injury), and was never able to return to form after that. Otherwise, don't you think Stansbury (whose team was on the verge of an NCAA tournament bid) would have played him more in those final games? One more decent win for Mississippi State during Hood's injury stretch and they probably would've made it to the Big Dance.
e) How does Mississippi State's SEC schedule contradict my argument? I said they had the second worst SOS in the conference. I never said they played a very strong schedule, but I did say that their competition got tougher as they went from the Tennessee-Martin's and Louisiana-Monroe's to teams that actually made the Big Dance. If you read anything I posted, I made the point that the NCAA-tournament teams Hood faced this year were scattered throughout the course of the season (West Virginia - 12/3, Detroit - 12/17, Baylor - 12/28, Alabama - 1/14, Vanderbilt - 1/21, Florida - 1/28, Kentucky - 2/21). Yet he still put up roughly the same numbers in those games at the beginning of the year than he did at the end of it (1.3 points and 0.3 rebound difference). So where is the decline? If you compare his numbers against the cupcake teams at the very beginning of the year to his conference play, then yes I guess you cold say his number declined, but that is only because his competition got significantly tougher, not because he was playing a lot worse.
f) As to the "less than 20 mpg" argument, if you exclude the last game of the season (UMASS, in which Hood played almost every minutes of a 2OT loss) then yes, he averaged about 19 mpg from the time he got hurt in the Kentucky game up until the UMASS game.
Look I can see how it would appear that he hit a "decline", but it's just not the case for Hood. If you compare his numbers against the cupcake teams he faced at the beginning of the year with his numbers during conference play, then yes I guess you could say his numbers declined. BUT that is only because his competition got significantly tougher, not because he was playing a lot worse. I guarantee you if Hood's schedule was flipped (conference games first, and then out-of-conference) that his numbers would go up rather than decline.
@JeremyTheall a) using points and rebounds to back up an argument about offensive rating or any other tempo free stat is completely meaningless. b) you're making an awful lot of assumptions about schedule effects without presenting any real data. c) again, everyone's early season schedule is easier, yet 15 of 16 ACC freshmen didn't decline as much as Hood prior to his "injury". d) I hope my readers forgive me for not dwelling on a bruise which affected his final four games and didn't alter his downward trajectory at all. e) their soft SEC schedule runs counter to your argument, and f) he played 24.8 mpg after the injury, not "less that 20" and I have removed those games from this entire argument so not sure why you insist on obsessing with them.
@Michael Rogner Mike, you never said Hood was a bad player, and I never said that you did either. I was simply trying to show you and your readers some things that may have been overlooked when reading the graphs and information that you presented.
First off, you didn't even mention Hood's injury in your story. Yet you still chose to include the games that he was playing injured into your graphs . Do you really think that's fair to Hood or your readers? Honestly. He went from being a starter and averaging over 30 minutes a game to coming off the bench and playing under 20 mpg after the injury, so yes, obviously it would appear that he hit a "decline" to someone who was unaware of the injury situation. Per the graphs above, it appears that Hood's numbers began to settle down once he started facing teams within his own conference (beginning in January, when you say he started losing his legs). Keep in mind that Mississippi State had the second worst strength of schedule amongst teams in the SEC, which is why Hood's numbers started dropping as conference play began (going from a poor out-of-conference schedule to one of the tougher conferences in the nation).
If you look at the graphs you posted with knowledge that Hood faced only 3 tournament teams before January 1st, and knowing that he went down with an injury on Feb. 21st, there really isn't much data to back up your "decline" argument, no matter what Doug "Evan" Gottlieb has to say. Rodney simply started facing tougher competition after he put up his three best games early on in the season. His numbers are indicative of that when you compare what he posted against the extremely weak teams (Tennessee-Martin, Louisiana Monroe, and Florida Atlantic - averaging 18.7 ppg and 8.3 rpg) in comparison to the NCAA tournament teams he played against throughout the season (West Virginia, Detroit, Baylor, Alabama, Vandy, Florida, and half a game against Kentucky - averaging 6.6 ppg and 3.9 rpg). Furthermore, if you compare his numbers at the beginning of the year against non-conference March Madness-bound teams (West Virginia, Detroit, Baylor - averaging 7.3 ppg and 4.0 rpg) with teams that made it to the tourney out of the SEC (Florida, Alabama, Vandy and half the game against Kentucky - averaging 6.0 ppg and 3.7 rpg), there isn't a significant difference in his production.
@JeremyTheall When did I ever imply that Hood isn't a great player? I referred to him as the most valuable transfer from the 2011-12 season, so not sure why you keep assuming that I'm bashing the kid.
As for the level of competition, everyone's competition was easier at the beginning of the year, yet Hood's decline was abnormal.
If you prefer the eyeball test, it was obvious in January that he was losing his legs. Even Gottlieb commented on it.
@Michael Rogner @DukeHoopBlog I'm not quite sure what dates you used for those numbers, why you chose to compare Hood to ACC players instead of SEC, and how you came up with the percentage changes, but I'd love to know!
I think Effective Field Goal Pct would have been a much better chart to analyze than True Shooting Pct in this case. True Shooting Pct takes into account challenged shots (3 pointers and 2 pointers) and unchallenged shots (free throws), while Effective FG Pct takes into account challenged shots only. As you noted, Hood does not get to the line very much, so it's somewhat unfair to use his True Shooting Pct numbers as a basis of comparison in this instance (all but Fischer, Royal and Daniels had more attempted free throws). By using Effective FG Pct, we see that Hood would have had the best percentage amongst freshman had he been in the ACC (he was 4th amongst SEC freshman, behind Davis, Beal, and B.J. Young, respectively).
As I said before, Hood's competition at the beginning of the year was much different than what he was facing towards the end of it (which contributes to the "decline" you speak of, but in fact he was just facing tougher competition). His best games (aka the "peak" that you used) were at the beginning of the season and came against cupcakes such as Tennessee-Martin (4-27 overall), Louisiana Monroe (3-26 overall), and Florida Atlantic (11-19 overall). Naturally, his "decline" began as he started facing tougher opponents (his "worst" games came against teams that made the NCAA tournament).
Out of all the teams Rodney faced before conference play, only three of them were ranked at the time of play, and only two of the teams he faced before conference play made it to the Big Dance (Detroit and Baylor). After conference play started he faced four teams that would eventually make the dance (Alabama, Vandy, Florida, and the team he got hurt against - Kentucky). Overall, his numbers against these ranked teams and/or opponents that made the tourney were right under his season averages (minus the 1 point blip vs. Alabama).
If we look at the SEC leaders in Offensive Rating over this past season, Hood was 15th best (and second best freshman behind none other POY Anthony Davis). If we compare Rodney's numbers to that of ACC players, he would have had the 13th best Offensive Rating overall and best amongst freshmen in the league.
I have the same charts for everyone who played significant minutes in the ACC. Here are all freshmen who played more than 40% of the minutes.
From his peak until his injury Hood's offensive rating dropped 11%.
Over the same time period:
Lonnie Jackson: +22%
Nick Faust: +15%
Jordan Daniels: +15%
Julian Royal: +14%
James McAdoo: +4%
Ryan Anderson: +4%
Austin Rivers: +1%
Dennis Clifford: 0%
Ashton Pankey: -1%
Shane Larkin: -3%
Malcolm Brogdon: -4%
Dorian Finney-Smith: -6%
Robert Brown: -8%
Rod Hall: -10%
Chase Fischer: -16%
It's pretty clear that Hood's decline was abnormal, prior to his injury.
Don't a lot of guys' stats fall off towards the end of the year? RT @RunTheFloor Evaluating Rodney Hood to Duke: http://t.co/OG7yQ0jN