Rickey Hood Discusses His Son's Future

Rickey Hood, current MSU basketball player Rodney Hood's dad, talks with Gene's Page about MSU's new head basketball coach Rick Ray, as well as the process the Hood family will use in deciding what Rodney will do going forward.

Now that Rick Ray has had a chance to talk to you and Rodney, what are your thoughts about Coach Ray and Rodney's situation at MSU? The reason I ask that is there have been rumors that he may be transferring.
"I'm not sure where those rumors came from. From Day 1, when I talked to (MSU AD) Scott (Stricklin) he talked about how he was going to proceed with the search. He said he would keep us informed, not about the coaches that he was looking at but how the search was proceeding. And he did that. In return we told Scott that once a coach was chosen we would sit down as a family and decide what we felt was best for Rodney.

"The primary reason Rodney came to Mississippi State was for basketball. We knew he would also get a great education but his primary reason for going there was for basketball. He went there because he liked Coach Stansbury, the coaching staff and the university.

"We want to know how the new coach, Rick Ray, will do with (the basketball) part of it. I've had a couple of conversations with Coach Ray and I felt good about him but you don't really know somebody after talking to him one or two times.

"We aren't talking about transferring, although that is a possible option.

"We are going to sit down as a family and discuss the situation. This is probably the 2nd or 3rd most important decision a person has to make in their lives. To just say this is what we are going to do, I would be lying if I said that 100% without really looking into it. We didn't do that when we first went to Mississippi State and we aren't going to do that now. (The first time) we thought about it and it turned out that Mississippi State was the best place for Rodney. We will do the same thing this time. We will sit down and talk about the pros and cons. School-wise he has had a great experience. Basketball was a great experience and success for him. But at the same time, as we are moving forward, things have changed for him. We have to look at that.

Coach Ray met with the team last night. What was Rodney's impression of him after meeting him for the first time?
"Rodney's impression of him is like everybody else's, he's new. That's not a negative. I think some people may take that as a negative, but it's not. But the coach has to get to know the Mississippi State community, just as they have to get to know him. And we have to get to know him, too. This is not an emotional decision but it is a difficult decision. We haven't talked transfer or anything like that but we have put that on the table as a possible option. If Rodney feels like the situation is not in his best interest then it will be something that we will talk about. But everybody knows that is an option for every kid that is there.

"When it comes to my kids, I want (Rodney) to be as comfortable as possible. We know what team we will have based on if everything stays as is. We are hoping that they might add another big man or a guard but we think they will be competitive either way. Rodney knows all the kids on a personal level outside of maybe one kid. And he is comfortable with them. The one unknown variable right now is the coaching staff and how they will move forward. But that is to be expected. We expect that to take time.

"Rodney said the coach was straight-forward with him about how he is going to run his program, his style of play. We appreciate that. We think he is a straight-shooter. I can handle that part of it because I think that is a good thing.

"We want to be fair to (Rick Ray) because we don't know him. I'll give you an example of that. Over a period to two to three years, we were dealing with some of the top coaches in the nation when it came to the recruitment of Rodney. Due to that, we had some time to deal with head coaches and their assistants. What people have to understand is we are trying to get to know this guy in a very short period of time so we can get comfortable with this. It's sort of like turning recruiting inside out. What I mean by that is the school chose the coach for you. That means you have to adjust to the coach. In the past, it was different because you were going to Mississippi State because you knew what the variables were.

"Now, there is a new coach so the variables have changed. We aren't afraid of a new coach. We just have to make sure it is as comfortable as possible. All of those things that Scott said he was looking for in a coach, a guy that is strong, has discipline and order, integrity, all of those things. We have no problem with any of those things because Rodney already has all of those things. But Rodney didn't come to Mississippi State for those, he came to play basketball. That's what I want the fanbase to understand. Rodney wants to develop as a basketball player. That is what we are focusing on right now. Everybody knows he does the other things well already."

Do you have an actual deadline as to when a final decision will be made?
"We don't have an actual deadline. We just want to have a good feel about it. Like (Coach Ray) said, we want to jump in with both feet. That's what we have to do as a family. We can't just do it with one foot at a time. We want to go in with both feet completely in. But this is all about Rodney. We want to be sure he is in a place that is comfortable for him."

Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the GenesPage.com website, the source for Mississippi State sports on Scout.com sports network. You can contact him by emailing swindoll@genespage.com.

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