VAUGHT: Hood seems a great fit for Gillispie

If there is a player that seems made for Billy Gillispie's philosophy, it might be Madisonville-North Hopkins standout Jon Hood. It's not just because the 6-6 Hood has the size and versatility that Gillispie has stressed he wants in a player. It's because he seems to believe all the things Gillispie would want a player to believe.

Remember Hood broke his wrist in a fall during the district tournament in March. Yet he's already been to AAU events in Fayetteville, Ark., and Akron, Ohio.

Is he a quick healer or does he have a high pain threshold?

"I wasn't expected back so quick. But I have always believed in what my father said about there being a difference between pain and being injured. Once it gets under control, you can play with the pain. It's pretty much the same with coach Gillispie's philosophy," said Hood.

Hood, the likely front-runner for Kentucky's 2009 Mr. Basketball, averaged 21 points per game last season and is known for his shooting and scoring ability.

Yet look what he intends to work on this summer while playing with the Nashville Celtics, the same AAU team he played for last year.

"My defense and ballhandling can get better. I need a more consistent shot," Hood said. Better shot? Isn't that his forte?

"My shot can always be better. I know that. Scoring the ball is what I do best, but my shooting can improve," Hood said. "My dad and a bunch of coaches I have had have really put that task (scoring) on me. But I like it. It is fun. Everybody wants to put the ball in the basket, but you can always become better at doing that."

Since Hood has made his verbal commitment to UK and will sign in November, it might have been tempting to cut back on his summer workouts. Hood never considered it.

"I am going to Vegas, Memphis and Cincinnati. I am going to North Carolina State for the Bob Gibbons Tournament. I would never consider not playing as much this summer. I always want to play, especially with the guys on my summer team," Hood said. "I can always get better and the competition is good that it makes you get better." If that is not enough, he'll attend the elite camp at UK and also hopes to find another day or two to spend in Lexington working out with future teammates.

That's the work ethic Gillispie demands.

"He expects you to work extremely hard, but that's fine with me. He just wants you to come and do your best all the time," Hood said. It's no wonder Hood clicked with Gillispie so easily.

"My parents really liked him. When he says stuff, he means it. He wouldn't feed you any lies or any stuff that is not true," Hood said. "He is a straight shooter. He will let you know what it takes to play and I can't wait for him to coach me."

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