By Brad Locke/NEMS Daily Journal
Renardo Sidney’s seat on the bench hasn’t even gotten cold yet, and he’s already back in it.
Just three days after his long-awaited debut for Mississippi State, the sophomore forward was suspended one game Tuesday for “conduct detrimental to the team,” according to a team spokesman, who confirmed that the punishment stemmed from an incident in practice on Monday and general insubordination.
A person close to the team told the Journal, “I believe it’s a combination of things that might have been aggravated by” the practice incident.
“Sid is suspended for conduct detrimental to the team,” coach Rick Stansbury said in a statement. “That’s all I’m saying. That’s all that needs to be said.”
MSU (7-4) is in Hawaii for the Diamond Head Classic, and Sidney will miss today’s game against Washington State.
After a long eligibility battle cost him his freshman year and the first nine games of this season, the 6-foot-10, 275-pound Sidney finally took the court on Saturday against Virginia Tech.
In 25 minutes, he had 12 points and three rebounds before fouling out in an 88-57 loss.
He also played in an exhibition game a week ago, but cramps limited him to 15 minutes.
Callaway High School coach Wayne Brent coached Sidney for one season at Piney Woods before the Sidney family moved to Los Angeles. He’s still close to the 21-year-old Sidney and spoke with him Tuesday.
“He’s OK,” Brent told the Journal via text message. “Just needs to work his way out of it.”
Sidney first hinted something was amiss on his Twitter page Tuesday morning, writing, “wondering if this what I really want to do????” He kept right on tweeting after BulldawgJunction.com first reported the impending suspension and after the school confirmed it, and he struck a positive chord: “Haha keep hating people am loving it.”
State is still without junior guard Dee Bost, who’s serving an NCAA suspension for withdrawing late from the NBA Draft. His debut is set for Jan. 8 against Alabama.
Focus on Cougars
Amid all this drama, the Bulldogs must focus on a tough Washington State team today. Tipoff is 2 p.m. Central.
The Cougars (8-1), of the Pac-10, return all five starters from last season, when they went 16-15. They’re led by junior guard Klay Thompson, whose 21.0 points per game ranks 24th nationally; he also averages 5.0 assists and 4.6 rebounds per game.
“He does so many things,” Stansbury said. “But it’s not just him. They are very balanced.”
Junior guard Faisal Aden scores 16. 9 ppg. Five other players average 6.6 or more points.
MSU is paced by guard Ravern Johnson (22.4 ppg), who was held to 12 points by Virginia Tech.
The winner of today’s game faces the winner of No. 15 Baylor-San Diego on Thursday, and MSU is guaranteed a third game on Saturday regardless of what happens.
After Hawaii, the Bulldogs travel to Las Vegas for a Dec. 29 game against St. Mary’s.
Contact Brad Locke at 678-1571 or firstname.lastname@example.org.