Having just finished his first year academically, Rodney Hood shared his thoughts on the past season, his game, the summer and the year ahead…

I just finished my first year officially and am headed home for a little while.  I’ve had a great year and learned a lot.  I am really excited to get out there and finally play and help my teammates.  It was real frustrating to sit there on the sidelines not able to go to battle with your brothers.  Now that I am able to get the chance, I am excited for the opportunity.

My decision to come here has been exactly what I expected.  I got a lot better in my year off.  When I first decided to transfer, it was because I wanted something different for my basketball career.  It was between here and Ohio State.  The reasons I liked Ohio State were mostly the same as why I liked the school I was at before.  It was a comfortable setting.  I knew people on the team.  I wanted to come to a school where I would be pushed and could see what type of player I am on the biggest stage.  Right now, everything is working out.  I am just excited to get to the preseason and games in October.

The main thing I learned sitting out is the intensity level and commitment you need to have to the game of basketball to be the best.  That’s the main thing I learned this past season from Coach and my teammates.  I didn’t think I could learn anything from Mason and the rest of the seniors, but I picked up little things from those guys each and every game.  Seth always had that confidence.  Mason always looked strong and played hard.  Ryan always knew his job and what he was supposed to do, especially on the defensive end.  I learned a lot.

It’s been great with Coach K too.  Starting off, I was in awe.  I didn’t know what to expect.  You hear a lot of things on TV.  Now that I got to know him, he’s very passionate.  That’s the thing I love about him.  Even as he gets older, he’s still so passionate.  And he believes in me.  He believes I can do big things this year and in the future.  It’s great to see the passion he brings and the commitment he has to the game even when he’s accomplished so much.

I am gonna keep getting better.  I am gonna work extremely hard on my game and take advantage of all of this.  My dorm is across the street.  You come over and shoot any time of the day.  That’s what I did during the season.  On off-days or even on practice days, I’d come in at night and shoot.  We’ve got the hot tubs, weight room, the great staff.  Everything you could need is accessible.  I’ve never had that type of situation and I want to take advantage of it.

For me, I need to build my confidence level over the summer.  I need to be confident in my game every day.  I can score and do a lot of things on the court.  It’s on me to take the shots and do those things.  I can defend.  I can put points on the board.  The main thing is to produce.  I need to be there every night.  That’s the role I want to step in to.  I want to score but average eight rebounds and five or six assists too.  That’s a load I am taking on myself.  That’s what I am working towards this off-season.

I think I can be a leader too.  I’ve seen a lot of different things and I can bring a lot as a player.  I am a leader by example.  When I say certain things, I think my teammates respect it.  I’ve been through it.  I am not fresh out of high school.  I’ve been through some battles at my last school, I’ve been through it here last year.  I’ve seen a lot.  I’ve been on teams that didn’t do the right things and it resulted in losing.  I’ve been on a team like last year where we did the right things and got good results.  I’ve been on both sides of the spectrum.  I’ve seen it when guys aren’t together off the court and it leads the wrong way.  The relationships off the court are as important as anything.  If I am going to battle, I want to do it with guys I know will have my back and my best interest and will be about the team.  That’s something I heard and saw this year from Mason. This was coming from a guy who was an All-American and the best big man in the country.  He had a bad game and took responsibility and said he didn’t care about individual goals.  He wanted to put it all on the line for the team.  That’s one of my biggest memories from this season.

I am gonna enjoy a quick break back home in Mississippi.  I love watching basketball so I’ll be doing that.  You can always find me on YouTube watching Kevin Durant highlights or Monta Ellis.  With the playoffs going on, it’s an exciting time.  I am a big movie guy too, I like going to the movies to get away.  Some of my favorites are Law Abiding Citizen, Friday After Next, Sunset Park, Harlem Nights, Django, Life and Insidious.

It will be good to get home and look back on a tough, good year but I can’t wait to get this going.  We’ve got a lot of versatility.  We got depth.  A lot of people will say we are young but we have great seniors with Tyler, Josh and Todd.  We have a lot of talent and guys who can play multiple positions.  I am excited to see how it’s all gonna work.  Coach is real excited.  I am just waiting for everyone to get back here on campus so we can get to work.  I am anticipating a fast-paced game.   We will be up and down, pressing.  I can imagine getting into people’s faces and trying to pressure the ball.  We will be really athletic and can take some chances on defense.  We will see.  There’s a lot of options for a team like this.  Stay tuned and thanks for all the support this year.




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