Rodney Hood leaving Mississippi St.

Mississippi State freshman Rodney Hood is leaving the program, new coach Rick Ray announced Sunday.

"Obviously, we are disappointed in Rodney's decision," Ray said. "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."

The 6-foot-8 Hood averaged 10.3 points and 4.8 rebounds and made the SEC all-freshman team.

"I want to thank Mississippi State for giving me an opportunity to play this year," 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."