Stansbury: Too late for Sidney to help us now

By Paul Jones/Special to the Journal

STARKVILLE – For this season, the Renardo Sidney watch is over.
Since signing with Mississippi State last spring, the 6-foot-10 freshman center has been in an ongoing battle with the NCAA over his amateur status. The former McDonald’s All-American has yet to see the floor this season, and MSU head coach Rick Stansbury said Monday he doesn’t expect that to change.
“It’s nothing official, but we’re down to the last week,” said Stansbury, referring to the final week of the regular season. “So, it’s very obvious now it doesn’t matter. I haven’t even thought about him, or talked about him lately. It’s a foregone conclusion that we’re not going to have him this season. I’ve got two games left, and I think it’s very obvious to everybody.
“When you had eight games left, we’re probably talking about it a little bit because he still could have made a difference at that point in the season. If it was, because of where the season’s at, it wouldn’t have mattered this late at all.”
Stansbury and the Bulldogs (21-8, 9-5 in the SEC) conclude their regular season this week – at Auburn Wednesday and home against Tennessee on Saturday. MSU has already clinched the Western Division’s top seed for next week’s SEC Tournament, and at least a share of the division title.
With one more win or an Arkansas and Ole Miss loss this week, the Bulldogs can win the West outright.
While Stansbury noted Monday he expects Sidney to be sidelined for the entire year, he does expect to hear something from the NCAA on Sidney’s future in college basketball.
However, the school and basketball program have awaited a final ruling for several weeks now.
MSU has already accepted the NCAA findings from Sidney’s case, although those findings have not been released by the university or the NCAA. MSU does not plan to appeal those findings regarding Sidney and his amateur status in college basketball.
“We anticipated, and you can get the quote from (MSU compliance director) Bracky (Brett), but we anticipated to find out something this week. We’ve anticipated that but again, I don’t think it has anything to do with this season whatever we find out.
“Like I said, pretty much, they’ve made the decision by not making the decision, if that makes any sense.”
Brett would not comment on the matter.
Stansbury also remarked Monday that he and Sidney have yet to discuss his future in Starkville. This summer, Sidney will be removed a full year from the high school ranks, thus making him eligible to enter the NBA Draft, which is held in June. Sidney could also pursue a pro career overseas or decide to remain at MSU and suit up for the 2010-11 campaign if he’s found eligible.
But like the previous months of Sidney’s situation, there are still too many unknown factors, said Stansbury.
Once Sidney’s NCAA fate is known, then his options for the future can be discussed.
“There are no thoughts right now, just get through this year,” said Stansbury. “You can’t talk about something you don’t know what it is or know what the situation is. There are too many things uncertain about it. Once we figure out what it is, then we will talk about it.”
At least one recent projection suggested that Sidney would be a low second-round draft pick. Only first-round picks get guaranteed contracts.

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