Hoops in Hood's future? Maybe not

With the clock winding down on his career at the University of Kentucky, Jon Hood is starting to think about his future and whether or not it should include basketball and the coaching profession.

With the clock winding down on his career at the University of Kentucky, Jon Hood is starting to think about his future and whether or not it should include basketball.

He has often thought about going into coaching, and has the endorsement of his current coach, but has learned he may not be wired for the profession.

"I don't know if I want to go get a job or if I'll want to go into coaching," Hood said on the eve of his final home game with the Wildcats. He and Jarrod Polson will be honored during Tuesday's Senior Night ceremony prior to UK's game against Alabama "I feel like I'd be a really good coach, but at the same time I feel like I wouldn't be a really good coach."

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Why is he torn on the matter?

"Because I would nitpick people to death," Hood said. "I'm very much a perfectionist when it comes to basketball. I know how it's supposed to be played, I know what it's supposed to look like, and I think that can go both ways. It's just at what level would that be."

Being a hoops perfectionist has often been trying for Hood, a former Kentucky "Mr. Basketball" from Madisonville-North Hopkins. He hasn't received the type of playing time he may have once envisioned for himself in Lexington, thanks in large part to an unprecedented recruiting run which has seen the Wildcats land five consecutive top-ranked classes.

As UK coach John Calipari is always quick to note, Hood may have played with more future NBA players than any other player in the history of the college game, a list that currently includes 16 players and will likely top 20 before it's complete.

While that has resulted in a national championship, two Final Four appearances and an Elite 8 during Hood's career, it has also meant watching a lot of talented freshmen go through growing pains that test the patience of a coach – or a guy considering a career in the field.

"It's hard," Hood said. "And I think that's why (Calipari) has called me a coach because I'll get on different guys. I'll tell them, ‘Hey, you're supposed to do this. You're supposed to lift. You're supposed to cut backdoor when he turns his head.' I mean, little stuff, and mostly it's just veteran stuff that Coach Cal sees. I mean, just veteran plays. ‘Hey, if a guy's got his arm in, go up into him.' Stuff like that."

The never-ending parade of McDonald's All-Americans into Lexington during Hood's time at UK has often led to speculation that he may seek a better opportunity to play at another school. Hood never wavered on his decision to be a Wildcat.

"No regrets at all," he said. "I wouldn't trade this for anything. My experience and my five years here have been the best time in my life. I don't know, I guess it's kind of hitting me right now that it's coming to an end.

"I feel like it's flown by. It seems like yesterday I was playing with John (Wall), Eric (Bledsoe), DeMarcus (Cousins), in here late nights working out and the national championship. It flies by, but when you really think about it that was five years ago."

It's been more fun than some fans may think, said Hood, who had logged only 5.2 minutes per game entering his senior year and has seen that drop to 3.9 minutes this year. He has played in just 10 of 29 games.

"I'm having a blast," Hood said. "I could see if you're not playing, if you have the wrong attitude, wrong approach to it, I could see that. I'm having fun. Jarrod, from what I can tell, is having fun. All the guys this year, we're... basketball's fun. If it's not, you need to go somewhere else and do something else with your life."

He'll earn his first career start on Tuesday against Alabama. Prior to tipoff, he'll be tested – like all the UK lettermen before him – by the playing of "My Old Kentucky Home" in the pregame ceremony.

Hood says he'll be able to hold back the tears.

"No. That's Jarrod," he said. "No. Honestly, I don't think either one of us will cry. We'll be happier. We won't cry."

Polson isn't so sure.

"Jon. Easily. No hesitation," he said with a smile.

Jeff Drummond has covered University of Kentucky sports and recruiting for newspapers, magazines and online publications since 1988 and for Scout since 2012. A Richmond, Ky., native, he currently resides in Lexington.

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