Since there are rumors that Mississippi State’s Rodney Hood might be considering Ohio State as a landing location for his transfer, we went to our SEC and MSU Bulldog expert, WCBI’s Robby Donoho.
We begin with the timeline of Rodney Hood’s time leading up to his transfer from Starkville:
October 27, 2010 – Rodney Hood verbally commits to play for Rick Stansbury and Mississippi State University.
2011 – Signs LOI to play for Bulldogs
November 21, 2011 – Hood named SEC Freshman of the Week
January 2012 – Hood returns to his hometown of Meridian, MS to discuss transferring from Mississippi State.
Jan 2012 – March 2012 – MSU falls from #15 in Top 25 polls to missing the NCAA Tournament, the only team in the January 2nd Top 25 to miss the Big Dance.
March 15, 2012 – MSU head coach Rick Stansbury ‘retires’ as coach of the Bulldogs. Immediately following, Rodney Hood ‘feels comfortable’ with Mississippi State.
April 2, 2012 – Mississippi State hires former Purdue assistant coach Rick Ray as newest head coach.
April 3, 2012 – Hood tweets that he had ‘toughest’ workout in his basketball career with Rick Ray.
April 8, 2012 – Rodney Hood is granted his release from his scholarship at Mississippi State. (Full release can be viewed here)
So…here we are. All-SEC freshman Rodney Hood, a former 5-star prospect according to Rivals.com, is looking for a new school to call home.
An important date on that timeline was during January 2012, when Hood returned to his hometown of Meridian to discuss possibly transferring from Mississippi State.
We still don’t know what spurned this trip home, but we do know his father Ricky had to talk his son OUT of leaving MSU during the season and staying on to play for the Bulldogs.
This, coincidentally, was during the time where the Bulldogs were in the midst of their epic downfall from being a potential sweet 16/elite 8 squad to missing the Tournament all together.
Fans will discuss everything from his character to his demeanor to his work ethic, but being around Hood for his freshman year at MSU: the kid CAN get it.
CAN being the keyword.
He bought into Mississippi State up until his trip home and he reaped the benefits.
SEC Freshman of the Week, an all-conference performer, a player that Rick Stansbury called ‘essential’ to his team’s potential in making a run at a National Championship…by now, you understand how good POTENTIALLY Rodney Hood can be.
He was ALWAYS the first to show up for press conferences before practice, he was NEVER late to a single meeting or practice, he ALWAYS was cordial with the media and very cooperative with just about anyone he came in contact with.
Simply put, Rodney Hood was a class act on and off the court. That makes the Mississippi native (in my opinion) the most highly sought-after ‘recruit’ in the nation for 2012.
He has already established himself as someone who can play in major college basketball, he is someone that was never a problem off the court or in the classroom, need I say more?
If you had to describe his game in one word, I’d probably settle for: throwback.
Here’s a breakdown of his game in multiple characteristics:
*He’s not a guy who crashes the rim and uses his raw athleticism to dazzle and awe the crowd, he just gets the job done.
*Solid ball-handler, per-dominantly left, can drive with either hand. Has a sharp pull-up jumper, but is better when he can shoot from a set position.
*Very good 3-point shooter. Don’t look at the stats, they will deceive you as to how he fell off the pace during the SEC season from the perimeter. He was hitting just about everything during the non-conference.
*Sees the floor fairly well, isn’t a point guard by any means, but does a good job at feeding the post and finding cutters.
*Doesn’t have a post-up game that will intimidate anyone. Really could be a force inside if he learned to play in the paint with his back to the basket against defenders that aren’t his size (6’8″).
*Not a dominant rebounder, but can be when he has the motivation and fire going.
*He’ll seem ‘lackadaisical’ when he’s playing on the court, but that’s his demeanor. He’s playing hard 100% of the time.
*Defense is still improving, but far ahead of where most players his age are.
*Doesn’t get beat off the dribble too often. He can be up against guards or forwards and still look comfortable.
*One of the few Bulldog players I saw this year step in and take a charge. Take that for what it’s worth.
All in all: he’s long, lengthy, and very athletic. He isn’t a showboat or a guy that loves the limelight and attention, but he’ll be someone that just gets it done on a consistent basis.
That leaves me with the question every Buckeye fan wants to know: Rodney’s destination.
If you’ve stayed with me up until this point, you will have noticed that he is very close to his family and doesn’t like to be far away from home.
That being said, you won’t see him at an SEC school. You can rule that out with his release stating that he is unable to join another university from the Southeastern Conference.
Almost every major college basketball program with an open scholarship will be calling for Hood’s services that won’t be eligible until 2013-2014 after sitting out a year due to NCAA transfer restrictions.
That leads to Ohio State’s chances. As of now: better than most.
(One thing I need to mention: the Bucknuts.com report saying OSU was closing in on Rodney is false. Hood is still quite a ways away from deciding his destination of choice.)
Hood was almost immediately contacted by OSU after the announcement of his transfer from MSU, that certainly can’t hurt. But Columbus is a 10 hour drive from Meridian, MS. Rodney’s never lived more than 2 hours away from home. That would be quite an adjustment for a hometown kid.
He’ll have to make an adjustment either way cause any school he picks will not be as close as Starkville was to his hometown. Take that into consideration.
But for now, I’d peg Duke and Florida State as the front-runners for Hood’s services. (Again, this is ALL speculation. Just a prediction from what I’ve been reading and gut feelings).
Hood did say in a 2009 interview that Duke was his ‘dream school’ growing up. He remembered watching the Blue Devils when Shane Battier was leading the charge for Coach K.
For Florida State, the Seminoles play a VERY similar style to what Rick Stansbury played at Mississippi State. Half-court, slow-tempo game, work the ball around, play tough, hard-nosed defense.
FSU coach Leonard Hamilton has a comparable demeanor and attitude to Stansbury as well. Both are laid back, demand the most out of their players, but will let the kids take control of the game.
But for now, Buckeye fans can continue to hope that the #1 recruit that still has yet to even sign may just end up playing in the Big Ten for his final two years in college basketball.