STARKVILLE, Miss. - New Mississippi State coach Rick Ray announced late Sunday Rodney Hood is leaving the program after one season playing for the Bulldogs.
"Obviously, we are disappointed in Rodney's decision," said Ray, who was hired one week ago. "I was looking forward to getting a chance to develop and coach him. This decision, unfortunately, was made before my hire. The Hoods were forthright and honest about where they were when I met with them, and I appreciate their honesty.
"I look forward to putting together a team with the current members, rolling up our sleeves and recruiting new Bulldogs."
In his one year wearing the Maroon & White, Hood averaged 10.3 points and 4.8 rebounds, while averaging 32.8 minutes an outing en route to earning Freshman All-SEC honors.
"Rodney came home for a weekend with the family and after lots of talking, he decided he wanted to ask for a release from his basketball scholarship at Mississippi State," his father, Ricky Hood said. "He said it's been a long, hard and difficult year at Mississippi State, as far as basketball is concerned. He's enjoyed the atmosphere and academic side of Mississippi State, but he didn't know if he could be fair to Coach Ray and be 100 percent committed.
"As parents, we struggled with the decision, because we wanted him to stay at Mississippi State," he added. "But at the end of the day, it's Rodney's decision, and we want him to be happy. This decision is nothing Coach Ray could have prevented. In short period of time we have gotten to know him, we feel he is the right person for this job. But for Rodney, talk of transferring started two and half months ago. Right now, though, the situation is awkward, and we just feel it is time to move on. We want to thank Coach Stansbury and his assistants for giving Rodney a chance, and we wish the best for Coach Ray. Like I said, this has nothing to do with him. We also like to thank the fans, because they treated him like royalty. At the end of the day, it came down to a decision that was best for him."
Hood started 29 of the 32 games he played, but missed the Alabama game due to a bruised knee he suffered against Kentucky.
"I want to thank Mississippi State for giving me an opportunity to play this year," Rodney Hood said. "It was just a long, tough year for me. Coach Ray will be a great asset to Mississippi State and getting to know him last week made this decision even harder, but after much thought, I am going to ask for a release. I wish my teammates and the program nothing but the best."
Mississippi State officials will make no further comment regarding this matter.