Last Thursday night was, all things considered, a pretty huge night for Duke.
One-and-done guard Austin Rivers, the subject of much draft consternation and discussion, was chosen No. 10 overall by the New Orleans Hornets, where he will team with No. 1 overall pick Anthony Davis. If you can’t find your assist gene playing with a guy who pretty much dunks everything, you’ll never find it. Rivers landed in a great spot.
Somehow, it was an even better night for Miles Plumlee, who was selected in the first round of the draft to the surprise of pretty much everyone. On Thursday night, I got off a plane just in time to learn the Pacers chose Plumlee ahead of Perry Jones III, Draymond Green, Quincy Miller, Arnett Moultrie, Marquis Teague, Festus Ezeli, Jeffrey Taylor, Will Barton, Doron Lamb, Kim English, Darius Miller, Kris Joseph, Darius Johnson-Odom, Robbie Hummel … the list goes on.
Shocking stuff, but it was all pleasantly surprising for Duke and its fans. The two selections gave coach Mike Kzryzewski another milestone: He has now produced the most first-round picks of any coach in ACC history.
Mississippi State transfer Rodney Hood would very much like to be one of those draft picks. Later in the weekend, Hood, a 6-foot–8 wing who was ranked No. 31 overall in the 2011 ESPN 100, told ESPN.com’s Dave Telep that he would eschew Ohio State, Memphis and Florida State in favor of a transfer move to the Blue Devils:
Hood said Krzyzewski touched a nerve and connected with him during his recruitment process.
“He was pretty honest with me,” Hood said. “He told me what he saw for my future. He was up front and he didn’t just tell me anything. He was specific and to the point. He said he can make me a better basketball player and one of the best in the country. His track record speaks for itself. I could tell he believed in me as a player.”
Hood will have to sit out a year, as is tradition, but the move is nonetheless more good long-term news for Coach K & Co., whose next two classes should ensure the program bounces back from last year’s ugly first-round loss to Lehigh in relatively short order. The 2012 class landed late commitment Amile Jefferson, the No. 4-ranked power forward, earlier this summer; he joined No. 3-ranked shooting guard Rasheed Sulaimon. The 2013 class already includes one five-star recruit, No. 6-ranked shooting guard Matt Jones. Adding Hood is essentially like adding a more seasoned and physically ready five-star recruit to that group.
Say what you want about the Indiana Pacers’ draft strategies -- I’m going to abstain and allow you to fill in the blanks in the comments, because I don’t like to start my Monday mornings off mean. But all in all, it was a rather excellent weekend for former and future Duke players.