Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Rodrick Rhodes Opens Up About Cordia Basketball, Admits That Rick Pitino Asked Him To Leave UK

Cordia head coach and former University of Kentucky player Rodrick Rhodes recently opened up in a lengthy article at

Rhodes talked extensively about the situation at Cordia, the ongoing fight vs. the KHSAA and his time at Kentucky.

After years of telling a different story, Rhodes finally admits in the article that he didn't want to leave Lexington before his senior season.

Here is an excerpt about Rhodes' situation at UK:

A few games later, Kentucky flamed out against North Carolina in the Sweet Sixteen. Not long after, Rhodes announced he was transferring to Southern California. Rhodes was done with Kentucky, and Kentucky, armed with another stud freshman in Ron Mercer, was done with Rhodes. Rumors abounded that Pitino, wanting to keep Mercer happy, forced Rhodes out. Rhodes denied that, saying the transfer was his idea. “I won out,” Rhodes said to ESPN at the time.

Today, he tells a different story. “Everyone knows I didn’t want to leave Kentucky. Every single Kentucky fan knows what happened with me and Coach P. and Ron Mercer. Kentucky fans are smart enough to think they can out-coach [current UK head coach John] Calipari. If you’re smart enough to be a Kentucky fan, you’re smart enough to know I never wanted to leave Kentucky.”

As he sat out his transfer year, Kentucky won the National Championship in Rhodes’s native Northern New Jersey. After college, Rhodes went to three NBA cities, then the international leagues, and then worked as an assistant coach at the college level. But after several years, he lost his passion for assistant coaching. “I got burnt out on travelling, recruiting kids, losing out to bigger schools,” Rhodes says. “I put something on Facebook saying I’d be interested in coaching high school. The dumber schools put something right there on my Facebook wall, but the smart ones hit my inbox. Cordia sent something to my inbox.”

“Rodrick was the initiator,” says Whitaker, head of the nonprofit that supports the Cordia School. “He wanted to come back this way and be closer to his daughter in Virginia. He applied and we all had our jaws drop.” Within three years, Rhodes has turned tiny Cordia into a successful basketball school. In doing so, he’s won a lot of fans and made a lot of powerful enemies.

This particular fight is about the students Rhodes has brought to East Kentucky. They are usually students from rough, often violent homes, and they see Cordia as a sort of asylum. When the state athletic association banned two Canadian students from playing, the students sued the organization to restore their eligibility.

It bears mentioning that the out of-town students that come to play for Rhodes are largely black and Cordia’s Knott County is overwhelmingly white, a detail that has been noticed by approximately everybody.

Complete Article (recommended reading)

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