Personnel at the school say Rhodes’ hire will be contingent upon state requirements such as a background check, but it’s pretty much a done deal, and the former University of Kentucky star told the Herald only moments after the council’s vote that he’s ready to begin.
Rhodes said he decided to pursue the position at Cordia, a K-12 school in Knott County with a total enrollment of less then 300 students, after talking with fellow UK star Jeff Shepherd and Joe Melton, Cordia’s baseball coach and a member on the site-based council.
“I just felt comfortable taking to Joe,” Rhodes said. “He made me feel wanted, and he made feel like the community will accept me. Talking to Joe, and actually talking with Jeff Shepherd, sold me on the fact that this is where I needed to be.”
Teammates while at Kentucky, Rhodes said Jeff Shepherd was the first person who told him about Cordia, which led to talks with Melton and eventually the site-based council’s decision on Thursday.
“Shep told me about Joe, and said he knew Joe and spoke highly of him,” Rhodes explained. “Joe sold me (on the job), but Shep definitely sealed the deal for me. I have a past relationship with Jeff Shepherd, and I have so much respect for him as a player, but even more so as a person. I know what type of cloth he’s cut from, and he’s a legit guy.”
Bringing a recognizable figure like Rodrick Rhodes to Cordia will be a boon for the community, added Melton, a Cordia graduate who was raised on Lotts Creek less than a mile from the school.
“I’m looking for what’s best for this school and this community, and I feel like Rodrick Rhodes, talking with him, he would be a focal point to the community,” said Melton. “I feel like the community will benefit greatly from his presence.”
As for his philosophy on the court, Rhodes said fans can expect an up-and-down the floor team that plays and works hard.
“We’re going to take on my personality,” he said. “No one is going to play harder than us. We’re going to play with attitude, we’re going to play with the mentality that we’re going to defend and we're going to get a lot of shots up.
“The kids probably need to start running,” he added, noting that anyone familiar with Rick Pitino's Kentucky teams will be familiar with his style of play as well. “I love the Pitino philosophy – he doesn’t do it as much – but we're going to get a lot of threes up.”
He said he realizes that people may have their own expectations, but he wants to come into Cordia and build a competitive program not just on the local level, but statewide.
“I want to win a state (title),” he said. “That’s my mentality. I want to win the state, and I don’t understand why we can’t win the state.”
Rhodes played for three years under coach Rick Pitino at Kentucky before transferring to Southern California for his final year of eligibility. He went on to be drafted in the first round of the NBA draft by the Houston Rockets, and most recently worked as an assistant coach in Texas.