Rodney Hood followed his parents to Mississippi State before transferring to Duke. His solid start with the Utah Jazz was turned upside down when the Cleveland Cavaliers decided to rebuild their team mid-season. Learn more about the new Portland Trail Blazer in advance of his debut tonight.
Hood grew up in Meridian, Mississippi (a town of about 37,000 people), 100 miles east of Jackson, Mississippi. He has a brother, Rickey Jr., and a sister, Whitney. Their parents, Ricky Sr. and Vicky, both played college basketball in the late ‘70s. His mother was a high school principal in his hometown and his dad was the director of the Boys and Girls Club of East Mississippi, located in Meridian.
High school and college
A left-handed shooting guard, Hood led Meridian High School to the 6A State championship his senior year and was named Mississippi’s Gatorade Player of the Year in 2011. He attended his parent’s alma mater, Mississippi State, his freshman year where he averaged 10.3 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.0 assists.
After the Mississippi State coach resigned, Hood transferred to Duke where he redshirted for a year while awaiting eligibility. In his second year at Duke he played alongside Jabari Parker, Semi Ojeleye and Quinn Cook. Duke lost in the second round of the NCAA tournament that year. He averaged 16.1 points, 3.9 rebounds and 2.1 assists.
Hood was selected 23rd by the Utah Jazz in the 2014 draft. Nik Stauskas (8), Noah Vonleh (9), and Jusuf Nurkic (16) were all selected before him and Shabazz Napier (24) was selected just after.
Hood averaged 13.1 points, 3.1 rebounds, and 2.0 assists per game in three and a half seasons with Utah. He shot 41 percent from the field, 37 percent from three-point range and 83 percent from the free throw line.
While in Utah, he took approximately 54 percent of his shots from two-point range and 46 percent of his shots from three-point range. He played 85 percent of his minutes as a shooting guard and 15 percent as a small forward. He played eleven playoff games with the Jazz in 2017, averaging 8.9 points per game.
Hood was traded in February 2018 as part of a massive roster turnover initiated by the Cleveland Cavaliers. The Sacramento Kings were also part of the trade that ultimately landed (among others) Jae Crowder and Derrick Rose in Utah, Iman Shumpert in Sacramento and George Hill and Hood in Cleveland.
Hood found himself in a very different role in Cleveland. While he averaged approximately the same amount of playing time, he shot quite a few more two-point shots (67 percent of his shots compared to 54 percent) and played more small forward than ever (65 percent of his minutes). He averaged 11.7 points per game, 2.5 rebounds and 1.8 assists.
He played in 17 of the Cavaliers’ 22 playoff games, averaging 5.4 points per game.
There have been two instances in his career for which Hood offered apologies to fans and his teammates.
In January 2018, as a member of the Jazz, Hood was fined $35,000 for slapping a phone out of the hands of a fan at Capital One Arena. He was exiting the court after being ejected for his second technical foul (only the fifth of his career). He apologized to the fan that night.
Several months later, during the Cavalier’s playoff series against Toronto, Hood refused to leave the bench after being tapped by Coach Tyron Lue to enter the game during garbage time. After a miserable performance in the series (0.7 points per game, shooting 11 percent from the field) Hood had fallen out of the lineup in favor of rookie Cedi Osman. Hood apologized to his team the next day.
Hood spent much of his childhood in the Boys and Girls Club run by his father. For the last four summers he has returned to this familiar gymnasium to hold a free basketball camp, Welcome to R Hood.
While at Duke, Hood was active with the Read with Blue Devils literacy program. He also co-hosted a basketball clinic for Special Olympic athletes with WNBA player Lindsay Whalen during the Toronto 2016 NBA All-Star Weekend.
Hood’s wife, Richa Jackson, also played basketball for the Blue Devils. They have three children, a three-year-old son and twins (a boy and a girl) who were born during the Cavaliers’ Eastern Conference Playoff series against the Indiana Pacers.
Welcome to Rip City, Rodney!