At the beginning of each new year, Phenom Hoops works to assemble a series of articles centered around unsigned senior prospects. Last season, over one hundred players from North Carolina went on to play at the Division I, II, III or NAIA levels, and that number looks likely to continue increasing with the current senior class. Typically, we take a closer look at guys who are overlooked and underrated, and today’s edition will highlight Sam Hood of Millbrook and Garner Road Thornton.

Players with size, athleticism, and a modernized skillset typically fare pretty well on the high school recruiting scene. However, Hood has somehow gone overlooked despite embodying all of those traits. He’s a long, explosive, fairly skilled big man prospect with the ability to run the two-man game, space the floor, and make plays in transition. Hood is a constant threat to finish above the rim, regardless of defensive pressure, but can also step out and hit perimeter jumpers with nice consistency. He runs the floor effectively in transition and understands how to properly utilize his size/length around the basket to alter shots. Hood is capable of operating within a defined role or expanding his production as needed, making him quite useful with any collection of teammates. 

Earlier in May, we featured Hood on our Underrated and Scholarship-Worthy article, where we stated: There are a lot of quality big men in the Hoopstate right now, but Hood might be the most underrated of them all. Last year, he showed flashes of dominance with the Durham Hurricanes and has continued to elevate his game ever since. Hood is a modern-style big man with size, athleticism, and the ability to score in a variety of different ways. He runs the two-man game exceptionally well and is capable of rolling or popping, which both yield fantastic results. Hood plays extremely tough on defense and possesses excellent rim-protecting instincts, which allows him to alter an abundance of shots around the basket. Hood maximizes his role on both ends of the floor and will be an effective player wherever he ultimately decides to attend.

Hood has all the makings of a Division I player but continues to slide under the radar and receives most of his attention from DII programs. Could he follow in the footsteps of someone like Gavin Rains, who ended up at Queens and is already flourishing? It’s certainly a possibility but we won’t know the result for at least another few months. Hood’s balance of skill and athleticism makes him an extremely difficult matchup for a vast majority of opposing power forwards. He performed at a pretty high level on a national-level stage at the John Wall Invitational and showed that he can compete with any type of opponent. Only time will tell if Hood becomes a hot commodity but he definitely has the ability to be a difference-maker at the next level.