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Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Renardo Sidney testing long-range game

By Eamonn Brennan

Renardo Sidney is a very large man. He has reportedly lost weight since his days as a top-rated recruit in the class of 2009, but weight loss or no, Sidney is still 6-foot-9 and well over 200 pounds. That sort of bulk is -- duh -- almost always best used under the rim. Plenty of athletic, versatile point forwards have have changed the game for big men in recent years, but very few, if any, of them have been bruisers.

Sidney is a bruiser. Or, at least, he should be. But according to the results from Mississippi State's scrimmage this week, Sidney himself doesn't seem to realize this fact. This is not a good sign:
The sophomore, who must sit out the first nine games of the season due to an NCAA suspension, flashed more frustration than skill on his way to 10 points. He finished 4-for-13 from the floor and attempted six shots beyond the arc. Two of his misses came on back-to-back attempts, including a putback, underneath the basket.

“We’ve got to get him down to the block more,” Stansbury said. “There’s no question about that. He’s got to not have that game slippage. Again, it’s going to be a work in progress. He’s just got to keep working, get that body in shape, get on the block where he can do some things. He has some ability to make those (3-point) shots out there but that’s not where you’re going to make your living at. You’ve go to get on that block more. He’ll find ways to do that.”

It's not a good sign, but it's also not a big deal. At least not yet. This was, after all, an exhibition, and sometimes it's cool if players try a few things in the name of experimentation. Like your first week at college. But also like your first week at college, some experiments need to end immediately, and that's probably the best thing you can say about the Sidney point forward project. It's OK now, but when the games start to matter, and Mississippi State's NCAA tournament chances start to depend on the ability of Sidney to replace the interior presence of former center Jarvis Varnado, then, yeah, Renardo will have to get on the block. Simple as that.