Renardo Sidney, Teammate of the Year?Posted by rtmsf on July 25th, 2011
The old adage is that there’s no “I” in team, but many people fail to remember that there’s actually a healthy dose of “me” within that word — half of it, in fact. The current collegian who most embraces the modern and more cynical interpretation of that aphorism is none other than Mississippi State’s Renardo Sidney. The 6’10″, insert-weight-here, conundrum of a talent is entering his third year in Rick Stansbury’s Bulldog program, and his fifth as the sport’s poster child for more headaches and hype than peace of mind and production. But give the portly kid from Jackson, Mississippi, credit — he keeps finding new and inventive ways to alienate himself. The latest and greatest act in his own personal passion play is his decision to skip out on his team’s August trip to Europe in favor of returning to John Lucas’ training facility in Houston to try to get his weight under control before the start of next season. According to Brandon Marcello at the Jackson (MS) Clarion-Ledger, Sidney recently said:
Everybody has their own opinion but I’m doing what I have to do. There’s nothing else going on. They can say what they want to say but, like I said, I know what I have to do basketball-wise. I wasn’t ready to go (to Europe) and I felt like I really wasn’t in shape. I wanted to come back down here and get some more work.
At one point during the late spring, Sidney had reportedly ballooned up to 320 pounds, well above his listed playing weight of 270. He lost 23 pounds during his first cycle through Lucas’ camp at the early part of the summer, but his stated goal is to lose the remainder before school begins at Mississippi State on August 17. Why Sidney doesn’t feel that traveling and training with his own team and setting an example as an upperclassman coming off an underachieving year is beyond us, but the enigmatic center has often made decisions that inspire head-scratching among most observers inside the sport.
The big question on everyone’s mind is whether this decision is simply cover for something else, and if such a strange allowance on the part of the coaches and Sidney himself (who willingly gives up a free summer trip to Europe with your team?) represents the beginning of the end for him at Mississippi State. Marcello’s follow-up column today addressed this very concern and it’s worth repeating — with as much trouble as Sidney has caused during his two-plus years at MSU and barely anything to show for it (unless you count a 10-9 record chock full of half-winded performances as something), it might simply be the right time for the two to permanently part ways. Even if Sidney loses the requisite weight in Houston over the next month, he’ll have missed out on another chance to bond with his teammates and will no doubt find additional trouble somewhere else before the start of next season. For a Bulldog program that has been consistently good for the better part of a decade, the best outcome for Rick Stansbury and the MSU faithful may be to simply hope that Sidney never returns. We hate to completely write off a kid like that, but at what point do you finally say “enough is enough?” Another month, and Bulldog fans may know the answer to that question.