Bluefield Daily Telegraph, Bluefield, WV

Local Sports

January 3, 2013

Player of the week: Hood steers G-Men machine

BLUEFIELD, Va. — Tony Hood can devastate an opponent in many ways on the basketball court. He can score, he can rebound, he can dish out assists and he is a shut-down defenders.

Last week in the Ft. Chiswell Tournament Hood put together a trio of games in which he scored 26 points twice, 17 in the third, and in one of those games grabbed nine rebounds, in another he had four assists as the G-Men claimed two wins and suffered a loss in the action.

For his performances, Hood is the latest Bluefield Daily Telegraph/Pocahontas Coal Association Player of the Week.

In a loss to Floyd County Hood tallied 26 points, and nine rebounds. In a win over Grayson County he again dropped in 26, and in a victory over Auburn the sophomore scored 17 points and out four assists.

“God gave me the ability to play basketball, so I just use my ability to score and do all the other things,” Hood said. “The coaches, players and my family push me to go hard every night.”

The Ft. Chiswell tournament was a challenge for all teams involved as each squad played on three consecutive days.

“The hardest part was just coming back day after day,” Hood said. We had three games back-to-back-to-back and it was quite early, so we had to go back home, then come back, get some rest, eat up, refuel and then go back out there for another day against tough competition. It’s great prep. It shows us what tournament time is going to be like.”

Graham High head basketball coach Glynn Carlock Jr., said Hood is a special player.

“I really think Tony has got the potential to be one of the best point guards we’ve ever had here in recent history,” Carlock said. “I don’t know all the history of Graham High School, but in the time that I have been around here, I think he’s got the potential to be as good as we’ve ever had.”

Nine games into the regular season, 10 games if you count the benefit game the G-Men played, which counts in statistics, but not in the won-loss column, Hood is averaging 15.6 points per game, shooting 46 percent (23-of-49) from three point territory, averages four assists per game, has seven blocks, averages four rebounds and three steals a game.  The point guard has only turned the ball over 26 times in those 10 games and according to Carlock 10 of those came in a loss to cross-town rival Bluefield.

“He has the total package,” Carlock said. “He takes care of the basketball. He makes great decisions. He passes the ball extremely well and he shoots the ball extremely well and has the ability to score either taking people off the dribble, or by penetrating, or by spotting up and shooting the jump shot.”

Hood is part of a youth movement on the Graham team, which has only three seniors. He said he, along with his teammates continue to grow on and off the court.

“It’s been a good season,” Hood said. “We’re practicing hard every day and when it comes to game time, we’re ready. We’re more like a family than last year. If we stay together, we’ll go far. We need to keep going at it every day in practice.”

Hood said there are two people who have influenced his play on the court, his brother and the point guard for the L.A. Lakers.

“My big brother, Lamont Edwards, is a big motivation for me,” Hood said. (In the NBA) Steve Nash, I like. He likes to pass the ball. I like to distribute it too. If I can’t distribute, or if my team is slacking, I’ve got to go ahead score instead of them having a rough time getting off shots, instead of me passing it to them.”

When asked whether he looks to score first, or pass first, Hood had a short, succinct answer.

“Pass first. Always pass first.”

A starter since game seven of his freshman year, Carlock said despite his youthfulness, Hood is one of the G-Men’s key leaders.

“He’s a fearless player. He’ll go at you, yet he has the ability to step back and hit the shot, and he’s a good defender. He’s going to draw the point guard from the other team the majority of the time and you can count on him not coming off the floor very often,” Carlock said.

“He’s a fine young man. He is soft-spoken, but yet he commands the respect from the other guys and he can be more vocal than most will think. When it comes time to say something, he’s not afraid to say what needs to be said. They listen and they respect him and they respect his play so far.

“He’s been a big reason why we’ve had success here in the early part of our season and we’re proud of him.”

Hood and the 6-3 G-Men return to the court Friday night at Galax in their first Mountain Empire District contest of the season.

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