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Hood To Leave; Ray Inheriting Bare Cupboard At MSU

When Mississippi State encouraged Rick Stansbury to retire last month, let’s hope the administration was prepared to through a complete and total rebuilding job.  Because if anyone in Starkville was hoping for a smooth transition from old coach to new coach, those hopes have surely been dashed by now.

Since Stansbury announced he was stepping down, Renardo Sidney and Arnett Moultrid decided to turn pro.  Freshman point guard DeVille Smith announced he would transfer.  Signee Josh Gray asked for his release from a signed letter of intent.  And last night Rodney Hood confirmed that he too is packing his bags and plans to depart Starkville.

Hood — the son of former Bulldog Ricky Hood — has reportedly not discussed transfer options, though The Jackson Clarion-Ledger listed Florida State and Louisville as potential landing spots for the guard.  As a freshman last season, Hood averaged 10.3 points and 4.8 boards per game.

Only one player from State’s five-man 2011 signing class is still on the team.  Only five scholarship players total are currently on the roster.  Of those five, only guard Jalen Steele has served as a part-time starter.  For new coach Rick Ray — who’s never before held a head coaching position at a college program — it’s going to be trial by inferno in 2012-13. 

Hood’s father said in an MSU-released statement that Ray should not be blamed for his son’s departure:

“This decision is nothing Coach Ray could have prevented.  In the 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 a half months ago.  Right now, though, the situation is awkward, and we just feel it is time to move on.”

Hood echoed his father’s view with his own statement:

“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.”

Now Ray must build State’s program up from scratch.  The former Clemson assistant says he’s up for it: “I look forward to putting together a team with the current members, rolling up our sleeves and recruiting new Bulldogs.”

With so many defections, he’ll have to do just that.  One further concern — if the players leaving school in this wave aren’t in good academic standing, it could cost the Dogs’ in the future APR scores.

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