20 Questions: Will Renardo Sidney Get In Shape and Behave This Year?

Posted by Brian Joyce on October 17th, 2011

Brian Joyce is an SEC microsite writer and a regular contributor.  He can be reached @bjoyce_hoops on Twitter.

Question: Will Renardo Sidney Get In Shape and Behave This Year?

Mississippi State coach Rick Stansbury is cautiously optimistic that troubled big man, Renardo Sidney, is on the road to redemption. Sidney has had numerous difficulties ranging from weight and conditioning issues, well documented fights with teammates, and even questions over his amateur status due to receiving improper benefits before stepping foot on the Starkville campus. Mo’ money has meant a lot mo’ problems for Renardo Sidney.

Renardo Sidney Behaving Himself

ISSUE 1: CONDITIONING – Now there is reason for Bulldog fans to be hopeful. Sidney lost 23 pounds over the summer while working out with former NBA star John Lucas. The weight loss has helped the 6’10” power forward improve his conditioning so far this year. He is actually finishing conditioning drills, according to Stansbury. “That doesn’t mean he was winning every race,” his coach says, “but he made it through it. For him, that’s a step in the right direction. We’ve just got to keep stepping the right way and not step back.”

Sidney has made positive strides in the offseason, but let’s not get carried away just yet. Sidney did not choose to go to Houston to train with John Lucas. Sidney was forced by Stansbury to train in Houston while the rest of the team made an overseas trip to Europe. Sidney’s improved conditioning is just that -– improved. It’s not like Sidney is ready to run up and down the court in an up-tempo college game battling the nation’s best frontcourt players. He is merely finishing conditioning drills in practice, which is far better than where he was last season. For Sidney, simply getting up off the couch and showing up is an improvement over last year-– not really a cause for celebration.

ISSUE 2: ATTITUDE – What about Sidney’s relationships with his teammates? He hasn’t taken a swing at anybody. Yet. And that seems to be enough to impress Stansbury who said, “He’s been a good teammate. The team has handled him very well.” But even Stansbury seems cautious, using words such as “handled” when referring to how teammates have gotten along with Sidney. He didn’t say they like Sidney. They have learned to deal with him. Doesn’t sound like anybody has the warm fuzzies when they’re around him.

Stansbury added, “We haven’t had any blow-ups. Call it maturity, call it whatever you want to call it; that’s what we want.” This writer’s opinion -– It’s only a matter of time. Renardo Sidney is a ticking time bomb. It just takes one person, one comment, or one incident to set him off. A player with a bad attitude and an anger management problem doesn’t magically wake up and stop getting angry. This reminds me of the last player to go into the stands during a basketball game and throw punches, Ron Artest.  Sure, he changed his name to World Peace. (Yes, seriously, he legally changed his name to Metta World Peace.) But do you really think he’s changed? A name change or being another year older does not change what is inside.

John Lucas got to know Sidney well this offseason as he helped the big man train. Regarding Sidney, Lucas said, “he’s a good kid, but what I didn’t realize is that he was that good. I had never seen the kid play, and I had no idea what to expect. We’ve had two or three blowups. I’ve had to tell him to take his fat ass out there and get to work. I’m helping him grow as a professional.”

VERDICT: Talent has never been the issue for Renardo Sidney. The talent is there, and it’s not going anywhere. The problem is that there are numerous issues, and those aren’t going anywhere either. Sidney can lose 23 pounds. He can say all the right things. He can even change his name if he wants to. The problem remains that Renardo Sidney is still Renardo Sidney. And Renardo Sidney is a another blow-up waiting to happen… Wait for it in 3… 2… 1…

Brian Joyce (333 Posts)

Brian Joyce is an advanced metrics enthusiast, college hoops junkie, and writer for the SEC basketball microsite for Rush the Court.

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