ATLANTA | During his long-awaited return to the sphere of public speaking, Renardo Sidney acted as his coach, Rick Stansbury, described him: humbled. He owned up to his mistakes and vowed to better himself both on and off the court.
That doesn't mean Sidney is lacking confidence. He said a few months ago that he thought he couldn't be stopped on the blocks. He hasn't really changed his tune on that note.
"I still think I'm the best big man in the SEC right now," Sidney said, "but it's just conditioning. Coming to practice every day and working hard and try to be in my conditioning. I know it's not going to be overnight, but I'm working toward it."
I took that to mean that Sidney believes he has more talent than any big man in the SEC, and he just might. It's simply a matter of developing it, knowing how to use it, and being in good enough condition to do both.
Sidney didn't enter this season in proper condition. He knows that now.
"I thought I was in shape," he said. "The first SEC game showed me that I wasn't in shape. I thought I was working hard, but after the game I just said, man, I've got to keep working hard and get in condition."
Empirical evidence suggests Sidney isn't anywhere near getting into shape, for whatever reason. That's led to accusations of laziness, which he refutes. He also said he and Stansbury have an understanding that when Sidney gets tired, he can ask to come out.
One concern is Sidney's weight. He's listed at 270 and said Tuesday he didn't know what he weighs at the moment. Dropping 5-10 more pounds could be beneficial. Sidney thinks running and conditioning will take the weight off eventually.
So the big question regarding Sidney is this: Could he handle playing three games in three days, if MSU is able to go that far in this week's SEC Tournament? The Bulldogs – who open play in Friday's quarterfinals against the LSU-Vanderbilt winner – don't have much depth, especially in the post, and Sidney will need to stay on the court as much as possible.
Sidney said he's not worried about a long weekend.
"I'm taking this whole week to push myself harder than I've pushed myself, because I know they're going to need me in the long run. I'm just looking forward to playing in the SEC Tournament."