Last summer, the story on Mississippi State forward Renardo Sidney went a little something like this: After a freshman season spent waiting for an eligibility decision from the NCAA (one that didn't come until the NCAA suspended Sidney for the first nine games of his sophomore year), Sidney had finally gotten his act together. He was focused in the gym. He was losing weight and building muscle. He was getting ready for a season worthy of his highly touted, top-10 talent as a high school star.
We all know what happened next. When Sidney finally took the court -- after months of supposed conditioning and training -- he was unable to get up and down the floor for large stretches. He was unproductive. He had a public fight with teammate Elgin Bailey in Hawaii. So much for that focused offseason; Sidney still wasn't ready, and it was arguably time to wonder if he ever would be.
We're still wondering. Sidney made the best decision of his career earlier this summer; instead of tempting himself by testing the NBA waters, he decided to stay in school. Good start. Now, last summer's refrain about Sidney -- that he's more focused and in better shape -- is starting to poke its head out of the water again.
Sidney spoke with Mississippi State beat reporters Monday, and he revealed that he'd spent two months in workouts with former NBA player John Lucas this summer. He had already lost 23 pounds -- an improvement over the whopping 320 that he'd arrived in Houston with -- but said he was still shy of the 270-pound mark, his stated weight-loss goal. From a YouTube of that conversation (hat tip: The Dagger):
"We did a good job on the weight, but I'm still working on my conditioning and just eating right," Sidney said. "We did some basketball skills too, but the whole idea was just lose weight and get in condition. The basketball game is there."
That's probably fair; Sidney's talent has never been in question. But it's hard to get too excited about this news just yet. Will Mississippi State fans be glad to hear Sidney is working hard? Sure. Will they immediately begin dreaming of an SEC title? Not so fast. After all, they've -- and we've -- heard all this stuff before. Fun fact: Last summer, this "Sidney's in shape!" breaking news update came on July 14. This summer, it came on July 11. Until Sidney proves something on the court, well, you'll forgive Mississippi State fans if this refrain sounds just a little too familiar.