Lenoir City's Hood to play for Samford

Pharmacy school was difference for wing

By Jesse Smithey knoxnews.com
Tyler Hood hopes his ability to shoot the pill may one day help him bottle them.

The 6-foot-6 senior wing from Lenoir City High School has committed to play basketball for Samford University, which will cater to his desire to be a pharmacist.

Hood, a first-team PrepXtra player last season, made his official visit to the school in Alabama late August.

Approximately a month later, he chose the Bulldogs over Belmont and East Tennessee State University. Austin Peay also offered but a lack of a pharmacy school kept them out of the running.

"What can I say? (Samford) was a great campus. A beautiful campus," said Hood, who averaged 23 points, nine rebounds and four blocks last season. "It's a great atmosphere. And they're competitive in their conference, SoCon (Southern Conference).

"They have a great pharmacy school that's well developed. Belmont's pharmacy is only two years running."

Hood's interest in the medical field was reared while at Lenoir City High, where his fascination with chemistry and anatomy escalated after being able to job-shadow health care workers.

His college basketball commitment, though, was a culmination of a long-time goal to become a Division I player. Since his freshman days, Hood estimated he's spent three hours per day in the gym working toward this outcome.

"It varied here and there due to homework and other things like church and family," he said. "But pretty much throughout the season, that's about normal."

Those hours showed on the floor last season, as Hood was selected District 4-AAA player of the year. He spent the offseason putting on 10 pounds - he's now at 203 - working on his 3-point shot and improving his speed and agility. He said the Samford staff wants to play him at the 4-spot, where they feel they he can exploit bigger, slower defenders.

With that in mind, Hood realized he can't pare back on the work ethic that got him what he wanted.

"You do get to point where everything's paid off, but you don't quit working," said Hood. "You stop and think, 'I've done it.' And, 'If I can keep it up, I can go on to the next level and hopefully play there, too.' "