Billy Kennedy Ready for Bright Lights at MSG

Posted by dnspewak on November 17th, 2011

Four days after coaching his first game of the season in an 83-58 victory over Southern on Sunday, Texas A&M’s Billy Kennedy, diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease this fall, will now lead his men into Madison Square Garden tonight.

Billy Kennedy Returned to the Bench This Weekend

The Aggies will face Mississippi State in the semifinals of the Coaches v. Cancer tourney, but Kennedy’s story has nothing to do with tonight’s game– or any other game, for that matter. After A&M hired him from Murray State to replace Mark Turgeon, Kennedy learned of his diagnosis in September when symptoms such as exhaustion began to sprout up. It’s amazing that Kennedy made a recovery so quickly. Especially with such a high-strung and pressurized position as a Division I head basketball coach, nobody would have blamed him for sitting out an entire season. As Andy Katz mentions in his article on the matter, associate head coach Glenn Cyprien expects Kennedy to take it easy at times, and Cyprien will likely do a lot of hands-on coaching as Kennedy continues his recovery.

Although Parkinson’s has no cure, Kennedy will surely have access to the best treatment plan, so here’s to hoping he lives a full life from here on out, both on and off the basketball court.

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Sidney To Suit Up Against A&M Tomorrow Night

Posted by dnspewak on November 16th, 2011

Ever since Renardo Sidney signed with Mississippi State, his career has been marked with controversy. You need more than two hands to count how many adjectives have been used to describe his attitude: He’s got “baggage,” he’s “immature,” he’s “got to grow up.” And so on. But nobody has ever questioned that he has the raw skills to be one of the top big men in college basketball. Though coach Rick Stansbury held him out of this weekend’s win against South Alabama with a groin injury, Sidney will play against Texas A&M at the Coaches v. Cancer semifinals in New York City tomorrow night.

Sidney Will Play Against Texas A&M

That’s bad news for the Aggies. When Sidney plays focused, he is essentially impossible to guard. He lit up Ole Miss, LSU and Vanderbilt last season for 20+ points, and when he stayed out of foul trouble, he emerged as a productive SEC forward. Teaming with Arnett Moultrie, the 6’11” newcomer from UTEP, Mississippi State’s frontcourt will provide A&M with its first true test of the season.

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SEC Morning Five: 10.17.11 Edition

Posted by Gerald Smith on October 17th, 2011

  1. With RTC expanding our coverage of the SEC, we should lead off with news about the SEC Expansion 2011: ALL YOUR TEAMS ARE BELONG TO US! The Southeastern Conference has developed a transition team that is working out the details to squeeze Texas A&M into the 2012-13 season. (Does anybody have a roll-away bed the Aggies can borrow?) The transition team is still working out the football scheduling, trying to find a way to balance Texas A&M’s schedule across the conference divisions while maintaining competitive balance. Not much has been released in respect to the basketball schedule yet. A few weeks ago Vanderbilt’s Kevin Stallings told ESPN’s Andy Katz that a 13-team schedule will likely involve each team playing each other once and several protected in-conference rivalry games.
  2. It might be easier to manage the basketball schedule if there were an even number of SEC teams. A nice number like… fourteen, perhaps? Nothing official has been announced regarding the next member, though that hasn’t stopped rampant speculation. Missouri is still trying to decide whether it wants to leave the Big 12 or stay; either way, the school won’t be able to change conferences until 2013 at the earliest. There also is reportedly some problems with how Missouri would fit within the football East/West division: Alabama would prefer Missouri to be in the East division so that the football divisional rivalries can be protected. By this time next week, another school might be the hot new name for the SEC’s fourteenth school. (We’d love to see your suggestion for the fourteenth SEC school in the comments.)
  3. Best wishes to Texas A&M coach Billy Kennedy as he takes a medical leave from the team. The Aggies will be led by assistant head coach Glynn Cyprien, a former Kentucky assistant in the Billy Gillispie Era. Coach Cyp was well-respected during his time in Lexington and should be able to give Coach Kennedy all the time he needs to recover.
  4. The Post-Gillispie Era at Kentucky has been headlined by coach John Calipari and his line of extraordinary point guards, including former Kentucky guards John Wall and Brandon Knight. The Courier-Journal’s Rick Bozich writes about how freshman guard Marquis Teague is rising to the challenge of being “the next” Calipari point guard and all the comparisons to Wall, Knight, Derrick Rose and others. Teague’s ability to quickly master his role in the Wildcats’ offense will be crucial for the team’s early tilts against North Carolina and Kansas.
  5. Mississippi State’s Renardo Sidney put in work with former NBA player John Lucas over the summer to improve his conditioning and attitude. This commitment to improvement has seemingly paid off; he is now meeting expectations in his conditioning drills with the Bulldogs. Head coach Rick Stansbury told the Clarion-Ledger‘s Brandon Marcello that Sidney’s attitude has also improved: “We haven’t had any blow ups… Call it maturity, call it whatever you want to call it; that’s what we want. I don’t care what you call it. That’s what we expect and need from him.” We call it “we’ll believe it when we see it”, and then we’ll call it “bad news for the rest of the SEC.”
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