basketball Edit

2022-23 Mizzou hoops player preview: D'Moi Hodge

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be taking an individual look at the strengths, weaknesses and expectations of each of Missouri’s scholarship players.

Of the 10 players who transferred to Mizzou in the offseason, four followed head coach Dennis Gates from Cleveland State. Two are on scholarship, one of them being the 2022 Horizon League Defensive Player of the Year in D’Moi Hodge. The 6-foot-4, 188-pound guard led the Vikings with 15.4 points per game while also averaging 3.1 rebounds and 1.4 assists.

Hodge has been a high-level scorer everywhere he’s played. He made the jump to NCAA Division I after two seasons at State College of Florida, where he posted 25.2 points per game in his sophomore season. He also saw significant improvement efficiency-wise during his second season at Cleveland State, going from 40.5% from the field and 29.9% from 3 in 2020-21 to 48.2% and 33.7%, respectively, in 2021-22.

Gates liked to use Hodge in a variety of ways, but a lot of his damage was done from the corners. Hodge, who was born and raised in the British Virgin Islands, is comfortable spotting up for a quick trey, flying up on a down screen or tip-toeing down the baseline to sneak past his defender for a reverse layup.

It’s also best not to have the ball anywhere near his vicinity when he’s on defense. Hodge averaged 2.2 steals last year, which ranked No. 1 in the Horizon League and No. 17 nationally. He’s a natural at anticipating where a play is going and will often give the ball up early in transition and fill into his sweet spot in the corner or go coast-to-coast on a fastbreak himself. Hodge is an especially gifted finisher, hitting 63.5% of his 2-pointers last season.

The obvious concern with Hodge is his lack of experience at the high-major level. It’s also a bit unsettling that it took him a year to really find his rhythm after transitioning from JUCO to a mid-major D1 school. Hodge doesn’t have that same luxury this time around, with this season being his final year of eligibility.

Hodge did prove he could compete at Mizzou’s level in some of Cleveland State’s biggest games last season. He dropped 31 points, three boards and two steals in a 98-93 overtime loss to Oklahoma State on Dec. 13 and posted 16 points and five rebounds in a 72-68 loss against Xavier in the first round of the NIT on March 15.

He’s already familiar with Gates’ system and won’t be expected to carry as big of a load offensively for the Tigers as he was at his previous stops. At a high major, Hodge is likely best-suited as an energizing role player who can rack up stops on one end and punctuate fast breaks on the other.