'Horrible' effort for Sidney may inspire improvement

STARKVILLE – There were only about 1,800 people in the stands for an intrasquad scrimmage, but Renardo Sidney – at one time a blue-chip high school prospect who played in Los Angeles – was nervous.
Those nerves got frayed when he struggled early in Mississippi State’s scrimmage on Saturday. Sidney began settling for outside shots, finished the day with 10 points on 4 of 13 shooting, and was visibly frustrated.
“I was a little nervous before the game, because I haven’t played in a year-and-a-half,” Sidney said Monday. “Being here with fans kind of set me back. But it’s not an excuse. I played horrible and got to get in more shape.”
Sidney, who’s listed as 6-foot-11, 270 pounds, has struggled with his weight and admits his conditioning isn’t where it should be. Late in the scrimmage, he started cramping badly.
Sidney also admits he needs to mature more, and coach Rick Stansbury agrees.
“Remember, he’s never had no accountability anywhere in his life from the standpoint of how hard you have to work,” the 13th-year coach said. “You can’t just turn it on and turn it off.”
Stansbury added, “And hopefully Saturday, maybe that light came on a little bit for him. That he did get frustrated because he wasn’t very productive in his own mind. As long as he channels that the right way and uses it to make himself better, hey, I think it’s good.”
Sidney reportedly has a nice outside touch, but MSU needs him to stay inside the 3-point line most of the time. He understands that, but frustration got the better of him Saturday.
“The low block is where I dominate the best,” he said. “I don’t think nobody can stop me in college or in the nation on the block. And I’ve just got to continue to work hard.”
Lineup shuffling
• Stansbury’s lineup sheet is a fluid document, and will remain so for a long time.
He’s got three starters back from last year, but one of them, guard Dee Bost, won’t be on the court until the Bulldogs’ Jan. 8 SEC opener against Alabama.
He’s academically ineligible for the fall semester and must also serve an NCAA-mandated nine-game suspension for not withdrawing his name from the NBA Draft on time.
Then there’s Sidney, who’s serving a nine-game suspension to start the season.
Saturday’s exhibition game against Lindsey Wilson will be the first step in figuring out who to put on the floor and when.
“There’ll be a lot of rotating going on every game, seeing what mixes and matches, see if we can figure it all out, what functions the best, how it functions the best,” Stansbury said.
The backcourt is especially intriguing.
Bost, who can’t play in the scrimmage because of his academic issues, is a two-year starter at point guard but will spend some time at shooting guard this season. Sophomore Twany Beckham and junior college transfer Brian Bryant will hold down the point until Bost returns, and once he does, he could be on the court with either of those players at the same time.
“It’s one of those things where I think for us as players, we have to play and not worry about what we can’t control,” Beckham said. “We’ve got to go out there every day and give it our best and play as hard as we can.”
Bailey ‘ahead of schedule’
• Junior Elgin Bailey, who will be a key for MSU in the post with his toughness and hustle, said his recovery from March knee surgery is “ahead of schedule.”
The 6-8, 276-pounder said he’s about 75 percent recovered and felt fine after Saturday’s scrimmage.
“That’s the best I’ve moved, and plus it’s my first time on the floor in a long time, so I’m happy,” he said. “I felt great Sunday. I didn’t feel no pain, no stiffness. I just felt good.”
Bailey was all over the place Saturday, diving out of bounds for loose balls and hitting the glass for rebounds. It didn’t look like he had any worries about his knee, but he admitted that some hesitation is still there.
“I try not to pay attention to it, try not to let it affect me. But I still hesitate sometimes.”
Contact Brad Locke at 678-1571 or brad.locke@djournal.com

BRAD LOCKE / NEMS Daily Journal