On the eve of last Thursday night's NBA draft, Mississippi State big man Renardo Sidney delivered a not-so-subtle twitter message that suggested he doesn't plan to still be in college at this time next year.
"NYC #2011 "Believe dat," he wrote. "Shouts out to all my boys getting drafted tonight do yall thang!!! Be there soon ;)"
The knee-jerk reaction to Sidney's words is to question why a player who sat out the entire 2009-10 season as a result of eligibility concerns would consider himself a soon-to-be lottery pick before he plays a college game. Putting aside concerns over a a supposedly intimidating 6-foot-10 center using a winky face, however, couldn't Sidney's NBA aspirations turn out to be a good thing for Mississippi State?
Questions about Sidney as a player have always centered around his work ethic and coachability rather than his talent, so perhaps having the NBA carrot dangled him front of him for the next 12 months will motivate him not to slack off.
If he sheds some weight by altering his diet and conditioning regularly this summer, Sidney could be one of the SEC's best big men once he becomes eligible nine games into next season. If he remains out of shape and doesn't show NBA scouts his work ethic has improved, he'll soon become the next Derrick Caracter.
When Sidney ended his bizarre recruitment and signed with Mississippi State last year, the general consensus was that the Bulldogs would be fortunate if he suited up in college at all.
It looks like Mississippi State will be getting nearly a full season of Sidney. If he's motivated to prove his critics wrong, that can only be good news.