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Duke Blue Devils Basketball: Rodney Hood Key to National Championship

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Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

The Duke Blue Devils are 3 – 1 after defeating the UNC-Asheville Bulldogs 91 – 55. Star freshman Jabari Parker had a double-double, but didn’t play flawlessly. He had six turnovers against a team that he was miles better than. The Bulldogs never stood a chance, but what might come as a surprise to many non-Duke fans is that, once again, Rodney Hood showed why he is so coveted by the Blue Devils.

Against UNC-Asheville, Parker (21) did score more points than Hood (18), but Hood was 6 – 8 from the field compared to Parker’s 8 – 13 from the field. Against better teams, Parker’s misses and six turnovers could have cost Duke greatly. Parker is one of the best players in the country, but eventually a team will find a way to shut him down. Duke may have to rely on Hood’s consistency at some point in the season.

Hood transferred from the Mississippi State Bulldogs to Duke right when the Bulldogs’ started to decline in the SEC. Now, Hood is averaging around 20 points per game and beginning to show signs of being a potential future NBA Draft pick.

If the Blue Devils are to compete in the ACC and eventually win the National Championship, it’s Hood that must step up, not Parker. There will be games where their opponents focus on stopping Parker, and it is in these games that Hood must play flawlessly. Hood may not be a name that the whole country knows like Parker, but it will be the play of Hood that determines if the Blue Devils can win a National Championship.

Taylor Sturm is a SEC Basketball Writer for Follow him on Twitter @TSturmRS or add him to your network on Google.

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