April 25, 2011
Whether running afoul of NCAA rules, failing to get into good enough shape or punching a teammate in the stands, Renardo Sidney has a well-deserved reputation in basketball circles for making poor choices.
The early-entry deadline for the NBA draft somewhat surprisingly came and went Sunday night without Sidney reneging on his promise to return to Mississippi State. The redshirt freshman will spend at least one more season in Starkville just as he promised via Facebook days after the Bulldogs' season ended amid little fanfare in mid-March.
"YES for all you BULLDOG fans I will attend MSU another yr," Sidney wrote. "I promise to work even harder than I have ever work b4 getting in shape is my main focus... watch out for them DOGS next season!!!"
You could argue Sidney's erratic play, sullied reputation and poor conditioning are forcing him to remain in school another year, but questionable draft status hasn't prevented some of his less celebrated peers from declaring.
Don't forget the pressure Sidney's under to make the NBA, either. This is a former No. 1 player in his class who's been told since he entered high school that he's a future one-and-done and who tweeted "NYC #2011 'Believe dat'" on the night of the 2010 draft, suggesting he intended to join his peers in the NBA the following year.
If remaining in school another year is a sign of growth from Sidney, another test of his maturity will be the effort he puts into offseason conditioning. A full season of the inside-outside combination of Sidney and Dee Bost could make Mississippi State an NCAA tournament contender, but so much of that depends on Sidney.
If he's still getting winded running the floor after a couple possessions, that underachiever tag is going to stick with him and Mississippi State. If he's trimmed down and able to give a consistent effort, he has the talent to be one of college basketball's top big men next season and to play his way back into first-round consideration.