Hood sets Louisville visit

Louisville still has work to do to secure a commitment from Rodney Hood, but Rick Pitino has convinced the Top 50 2011 prospect to make an official visit to the Cardinals campus next month. Hood's father spoke with InsideTheVille.com about Pitino's recent in-home visit and what UofL has to do to get a commitment.

Louisville still has work to do to secure a commitment from Rodney Hood, but Rick Pitino has convinced the Top 50 2011 prospect to make an official visit to the Cardinals campus next month.

Hood, a versatile 6-foot-8 forward who possesses guard-like skills, will visit Louisville Oct. 8-9. Hood, who has already made official visits to Alabama and Florida State, was scheduled to visit Georgia Tech this weekend, but has canceled the trip and eliminated the Yellowjackets from consideration, according to his father, Ricky Hood. Hood also is scheduled to visit Georgetown October 15-16.

"It all boiled down to what Rodney wanted to do," Ricky Hood said of the decision to visit Louisville. "Once Louisville got involved, he said 'Dad, I have some interest and I want to see more.' He has some interest in getting to know the program and seeing if it's something he's interested in."

Rick Pitino and assistants Tim Fuller and Steve Masiello recently made an in-home visit with Hood. During the visit, Pitino pulled out the power-point, made his sales pitch and showed why Louisville would be a good fit for Hood.

"The in-home visit went great. Rodney thought it went great, my wife thought it went great, I thought it went great.. we thought it went great," said Hood. "I graduated from Murray State so I'm very familiar with Louisville and played in Freedom Hall. So I know the history. But I'm not being recruited.

Rodney Hood will visit two Big East programs next month.
"It was important for Rodney to get a good feel for the university and they did a great job...[Pitino], Coach Fuller, and Coach Masiello did a great job showing him with the power-point and letting him see some of the things he needed to see. Basically, he showed Rodney his vision for him if he comes to Louisville. With Rodney being a perimeter player, [Pitino] said he was going to play him at all three perimeter spots, but primarily at the two."

Louisville got involved late in the recruiting process with Hood. Though Pitino's program didn't become serious with Hood until July, unlike Alabama, Florida State, Mississippi State, and Marquette – schools that are also under consideration - that won't necessarily prevent the Cardinals from landing a commitment.

"He's has the traditional schools that have been with him the two, two and half years and they built a tremendous relationship with Rodney," Hood said. "That was important in the beginning, and it still is, but right now we're trying to find the right fit. The right fit is not because the coach is a good guy. We want to make sure of the coaches philosophy, and [that] his style of coaching fits Rodney's abilities and maximizes his opportunities."

While Louisville still has a chance to land a commitment from Hood, it's clear they'll have to overcome a few frontrunners in this recruitment.

"Florida State [stands out] more so than anybody else, and Alabama, Marquette and Mississippi State are right there," Hood said. "Louisville and [Georgetown] still have a little work to do. He needs to visit those schools. It's easy to fall in love with schools like Louisville and Georgetown because of the high-caliber of ball that they play. But I've told him to just focus on basketball, because all of them are going to have nice gyms, weight rooms, educational programs...the most important thing we need to focus on is the basketball and the head coach – his philosophy and how he deals with his players."

Hood is nearing the end of his recruiting process. He's going to make a couple more visits next month, but expects to sign during the early period, which begins in November.

"We're getting pretty close to a commitment," Hood added. "We're not going to Georgia Tech becuase it's not a fit right now. He really enjoyed his visit to Alabama and Florida State. They've been his top schools for the last year or so.

"Alabama, Florida State and Marquette showed him everything he could ever want in a school. Georgetown is unique in the system they run and the history they have. Louisville is unique because they have one of the best coaches. All the coaches are good, but Coach Pitino brings something a little different in scheduling and facilities. Those things come into play when you talk about Louisville because its on a higher level."

Another thing that interested Hood is Pitino's coaching tree. Hood, who wants to go into coaching one day, is well aware that Pitino has produced coaches like Billy Donovan, Tubby Smith, and John Pelphrey.

"It caught his attention," Hood said. "Rodney was impressed with that. Coach Pitino brings something unique in that his guys are coaching at all different levels and that has somewhat of an impact. It got his attention when Coach Pitino got involved [in the recruiting process]."

What factors will influence Hood when it's time to sit down to make his decision?

"The basketball is what's going to lock Rodney in," Hood said. "Then it's the team itself. It's important that he's on a team that has the same mindset and wants to win games. The team atmosphere is real important."

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