When Mississippi State coach Rick Stansbury announced that Renardo Sidney would not be accompanying the team on a summer exhibition tour of Europe, he gave no reason as to why the talented, yet maligned forward-center was being left behind.
Sidney returned to Houston to continue his workouts with John Lucas, indicated Stansbury, offering up little else in terms of exactly why Sidney was left out of an important team-building exercise that would bring him closer with teammates and prepare for next season.
Now Lucas, a former NBA player and coach, who has helped rehabilitate the careers of a number of players on and off the court, has shed a little bit of light on the 6-foot-11 Sidney’s current situation.
In a report by ESPN’s Andy Katz, Lucas confirmed that conditioning is a major focus for him this summer and that Sidney has dropped as much as 23 pounds from a body that at times last season ballooned well past the 300 mark.
However, getting his weight under control is just the tip of the iceberg, as Lucas is using his no-nonsense approach to help Sidney become a better teammate, a professional and, at the end of the day, a better person.
With Sidney, he’s dealing with more of a mental hurdle and some anger-related issues.
“I had never seen the kid play and I had no idea what to expect,” Lucas said. “We’ve had two or three blowups. I’ve had to tell him to take his fat ass out there and get to work. I’m helping him grow as a professional.
“Somewhere down the line he lost some motivation. When kids get ranked real high early I think they think they’ve got it made. When he wanted to come back I was shocked. This isn’t easy. He wants to do it. He wants to get more weight off him. He doesn’t have to do it.”
Whether Sidney can regain some of that lost motivation will be key to his career moving forward, not just with the Bulldogs in 2011-12, but in terms of his professional basketball career.
There is no questioning Sidney’s talent; he was a five-star recruit rated behind the 2009 class’ top big man, Derrick Favors. However, as with the weight Sidney is trying to lose this summer, he must also shed some of the baggage that has dogged his promising career from early on and make steps toward rehabilitating his image.
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© 2011 Neal J. Leitereg — All Rights Reserved