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Kentucky Wildcats Basketball Preview: #4 Jon Hood

 

#4 Jon Hood

6’7″ 212 lbs.

Junior (RS) – Small Forward

Madisonville North Hopkins High School

Madisonville, Kentucky

2011-2012: Injury Redshirt

2010-2011: 0.8 points, 0.7 rebounds in 4.8 minutes per game

2009-2010: 1.2 points, 0.7 rebounds, 0.4 assists, in 4.4 minutes per game

If you go back to Jon Hood’s senior year of high school in the 2008-2009 basketball season, when Hood originally committed to playing for the University of Kentucky, it almost looks like a night and day program to what it is today. Then, Kentucky had just come off a season that ended with a loss in the NIT and officially ended the tenure of Billy G at UK. Going into this season, Kentucky is fresh off a national championship and are reloading for another Final Four run. The last three years that Jon Hood has been a part of the Kentucky Wildcats program have come with great team success, with an elite eight loss, a final four loss, and a national championship. However, for Hood, these past three years have been something completely different as far as personal success has gone. Hood played only 232 minutes in his freshman and sophomore years combined, averaged only 4.6 minutes per game over his first two seasons. But in the summer preceding his junior year, Hood tore his ACL on a drive to the basket in a pickup game, ending his season before it even began. Hood was forced to have surgery and sit out the entire 2011-2012 season. Hood took an injury redshirt last year so he still has two years off eligibility remaining. Now, this season, with an entirely new batch of players, Jon Hood is looking to make an impact for the Wildcats.

What should we expect from Jon Hood this year? Well, Hood looks to prove why he was highly recruited coming out of high school. He wants to prove he deserving of the Gatorade Player of the Year for the state of Kentucky and Mr. Basketball in the state of Kentucky as well in 2009. Coming out of high school, Hood was described as a player who was going to be a knockdown shooter, and his long arms and athleticism allow him to excel in perimeter play on both the offensive and defensive sides of the ball. This season, Hood looks to do exactly that for the Blue and White. Kentucky lost a ton of scoring and 3 point shooting with the departure of Doron Lamb and Darius Miller, not to mention the rest of the starting five from last season, all first round draft picks. Hood will be a player who can hopefully step in off the bench and knock down shots when called upon. Hood said that taking last season off wasn’t all negative as he got to sit back and look from the outside, learning new things along the way. Despite not being able to play last season, Hood showed up for every practice and meeting, listening to the coaches can only have its benefits. Hood said that being able to help with the team kept him motivated.

I needed to get in the gym with those guys and help in any way I could. I needed to feel like I was helping, that I wasn’t helpless.

Hood was able to pick up on things Coach Cal and the assistant coaches were telling the other players and apply it to his own game. Hood stated that he could develop his shot and learn more dribble drive offense in the time he watched anxiously from the sidelines.

I think the form on my jump shot and the mechanics is a big thing I gained. I understand angles a little better now. I’m not going to fly by everybody that steps in front of me like LeBron (James) and jump up and dunk on them, but I understand getting shoulder low and getting it by people on the first dribble. Coach Cal has talked to me about the 8- to 10-footer, just jumping up over top of everybody and hitting it.

This being Coach Cal’s fourth year at the University of Kentucky, Jon Hood has been the only player who has been in the program for Coach Cal’s entire tenure. Being in the program for four years can provide experience and versatility that younger players just don’t have. Hood has been working hard in offseason workouts in the fact that he has been working both with the guards and the big men. Before Nerlens Noel arrived on campus, Hood had to guard Alex Poythress down low in workouts, something that no person would enjoy having to do.

I got beat up on.

Hood knows, after the past three years and entering the fourth year here at UK, that if a player doesn’t work hard in practice and on defense to prove why he deserves to be in the game, then he won’t be getting any playing time in a Kentucky jersey, and Hood plans to outwork and out-hustle to earn his minutes on the floor.

You either perform or you sit down and don’t get attention.

Tags: Basketball Articles Jon Hood Kentucky Wildcats

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