At MrSEC.com, we usually take it pretty easy on college athletes. You can’t cover college sports without talking about bad plays, turnovers and — sadly — arrests these days, but we try not to bang away too hard at men in their early 20s and younger.
Unless they’ve asked for it. Showboats and loudmouths tend to flip our ignition switch. So too do trouble-makers who are handed one opportunity after another by coaches who would normally boot less-talented players for similar/lesser offenses.
Renardo Sidney fits in that last category. So while we think some of the following pundits are treating Sidney as though he were a high-paid professional (hold your jokes about his high school career), it’s hard for us to argue with their assessments of Mississippi State’s big man.
The Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal compiled some of the shots fired at Sidney after last night’s 11-point, 8-rebound performance against Kentucky last night:
Jeff Goodman, FoxSports.com: “I am not sure I have watched (a) lazier player than Renardo Sidney. Really sad because a few years back, kid was as fun to watch as anyone.”
Dana O’Neil, ESPN.com: “Don know how Rick Stansbury tolerates Renardo Sidney. No defense then jacks a brick of a three. Selfish and awful.”
Evan Daniels, Scout.com: “Wow … ESPN just crushed Sidney. Dude is super lazy. Can’t believe he just backed away like that. It’s sad. Kid has so much talent.”
Cecil Hurt, The Tuscaloosa News: “Not a fan of ESPN SkyCam but it is at least a new vantage point from which to be disappointed in Renardo Sidney.”
The Jackson Clarion-Ledger also took note of the Sidney-bashing last evening.
Brad Locke of The Journal took Sidney to task for “grabbing his shorts while standing in the lane on defense.”
After the game, Locke asked Stansbury what he thought about Sidney’s, um, effort.
“I thought Sid played hard,” Stansbury said. “Does that mean every minute he was on that floor he’s fresh? No. That’s kind of where it is with him. It’s just where he is in his game right now. Just to say he went out there and (had) a lack of effort because he wasn’t trying, that’s not true. I think he tried to the point he exhausted himself, and I like that.”
Locke even suggests that Stansbury is “not in charge of him.”
“Sidney decides when he’s ready to come out and go back in — pay attention, and you’ll see him signal to the bench for a sub, and other times he’ll just up and walk to the scorer’s table to check in, unprompted by Stansbury.
Stansbury isn’t coaching Sidney. He’s enabling him, and he’s enabling him right into basketball oblivion.”
A number of folks took issue with our recent comments regarding Jadeveon Clowney’s decision to Lebron James his way into the focus of media frenzy. “What’s wrong with a kid taking all the time he wants,” a dozen emailers asked.
This is what’s wrong with it.
The more players are praised, coddled and allowed to act as rulers of the universe, the more likely they’ll go belly-up in college when the competition gets tougher and they have to A) work harder and B) listen to their coaches.
Stansbury has looked the other way when Sidney got into a fight with a teammate. He’s looked the other way when Sidney’s tweets insulted MSU fans. He even looked the other way last night while Sidney sat on the court during play and watched his teammates continue to battle. It seems that in Sidney’s life the much-vilified NCAA is the only group that hasn’t looked the other way when it comes to his and his family’s shortcuts.
Now granted, not all players are Renardo Sidney. But the more high-schoolers are put on pedestals as Sidney has been — allowed to do anything they like because of their talent — the more likely they’ll become either lazy or cancerous to their college team.