Tag:Renardo Sidney
Posted on: January 16, 2012 1:57 pm
Edited on: January 16, 2012 1:58 pm

Arnett Moultrie is in the group of POY candidates

Moultrie's been so good, but it seems people haven't yet noticed how valuable he's become in getting Mississippi State to becoming an SEC contender. (US PRESSWIRE)

By Matt Norlander

It’s time to discuss Arnett Moultrie, who’s become among one of the best big men in the country. It’s time to mull and debate his place amid the higher horde in the Player of the Year race. He’s a candidate. I’m not seeing him right now as top-three, -five or -eight, but top 10 or top 12? Yes, absolutely.

Moultrie is not without flaw (I think his shot-blocking could be so much better) but still Mississippi State’s best player, by far, and more surprising than that is the junior’s turned into one of the most valuable transfers in college basketball in the past decade. Not only did he come into a program that already had a big man with NBA potential (Renardo Sidney), he’s melded his play into just what coach Rick Stansbury needs to turn MSU into a second-weekend NCAA tournament team. Moultrie didn't try to take over with this team; it just happened naturally, and now, dear God, it's looking like we can take MSU seriously.

This wasn’t predictable. Moultrie was seen as a great addition to the program from the get to the go, but this kind of production (give me just a second and I’ll get that ready for you) is beyond expectation.

Prior to Mississippi State, Moultrie, 6-11, was at UTEP, where his play was overlooked consistently. To be fair, he wasn’t playing good teams and UTEP wasn’t as good as the Bulldogs are now. He also did not score (less than a point per possession), shoot (just above 50 percent from the floor) or rebound (good-not-great rates of 10.3 on offense and 19.1 on defense) as well while a Miner. He lacked drive.

“I didn’t always have this work ethic I have now,” Moultrie told me last week. “Once I transferred, that’s what triggered it. That's when I started to work more.”

Moultrie has led MSU to its top-20 ranking in both the polls (No. 17 in Top 25 [and one]) and coming off that 25-point, 13-rebound performance in a 56-52 home win over Alabama Saturday, the slender stilt should be talked alongside of Draymond Green, Mike Scott, Herb Pope, Marcus Denmon and Harrison Barnes. Actually, I take that back — Barnes is well behind Moultrie at this point.

“This past year has been … amazing for me. When I became eligible, I wanted success from the start,” Moultrie said. “I do believe we have the best front court in the country.”

Run the Floor, one of the better independent college hoops blogs out there, had this to say about Moultrie last week, prior to his Alabama outburst: “He's had double digit rebounds in 11 of 13 games, and double digit points in 8. He's one of two SEC players grabbing at least 15 percent of their own team's misses. He rarely commits fouls, draws them at the highest rate on the team, and makes 87 percent once he gets to the line. He's versatile. He can face up, he's got moves on the block, and he can go by you. He makes 56 percent of his 2s and has an offensive rating over 121.”

Those numbers are even better following MSU’s home wins over Tennessee and the Tide, although Moultrie did only snare four caroms in the Tennessee game, he made up for it with 13 points, four blocks and just one foul, which also adds to his value. Only four times has Moultrie been held to single digits; Mississippi State lost three of those four, only beating middling Texas A&M.

As for the foul thing, it's huge. Luke Winn recently charted foul tendencies among big men on good teams, but didn't get to Mississippi State. I haven’t charted when Moultrie gets his whistles, but there’s really no need to. He’s never had a game with four fouls, and he’s only fouled out once, which, no shock here, ended up in a Bulldogs loss (98-88 to Arkansas).

Moultrie averages 1.9 fouls per game. For a critical man on the interior, that’s huge. Does he lack aggressiveness? No because, as Run the Floor stated, Moultrie's getting to the line plenty. For every two field goals he takes, he shoots a free throw -- a 50-percent rate, and that's very good for business. 

What I loved about Moultrie in talking to him on the phone was his blunt, aggressive, to-the-point style in discussing the team. He’s been ticked recently with how badly they've been playing defense. Again, this was prior to the Tennessee and Alabama wins.

“I’m not sure why it’s been like that,” he said, “but whatever it is we need to change. Our guards need to do a better job guarding the ball. Our man to man defense, it sucks right now.”

Against Tennessee the Bulldogs held the Vols to .97 points per possession (anything under one point per possession is good). Alabama was even more inefficient, scoring .9 PPP against Moultrie and Co. Much improvement there.

“Our attitude is, we have a lot of weapons at the offense ends, but we need to get better on both sides of the ball,” Moultrie said. “I’m not satisfied and I need to look forward to doing it better.”

By "it" he meant leading the team, playing better defense and taking chances away from other teams on the glass. He’s excelled. Mississippi State’s got a solid corps with freshman Rodney Hood (also supremely underrated), Dee Bost and stud sub Deville Smith. Moultrie has become and should remain the centerpiece. I don’t think MSU wins the SEC, but if they flirt with it, you’ll start to hear more about how influential he is. Why not have the conversation now?

Posted on: November 17, 2011 10:02 pm
Edited on: November 17, 2011 10:04 pm

Mississippi St. doesn't need Sidney to be a star

By Jeff Borzello

NEW YORK – For most of the past two years, people have said Renardo Sidney is the harbinger for Mississippi State basketball. As he goes, the Bulldogs go.

That’s not the case anymore.

Mississippi State thoroughly handled No. 19 Texas A&M on Thursday, getting out to a 31-9 lead en route to a 69-60 victory. The margin was in double-figures for most of the game, and the Aggies never got closer than eight points after the early lead.

The most surprising part? Sidney didn’t make a shot from the field, going 0-for-8, scoring three points and grabbing five rebounds in 22 minutes on the floor. He wasn’t as bad as the stat line would indicate, as he hustled for loose balls and worked hard on the glass.

“He didn’t finish his shots, but I’m not worried about him finishing shots,” head coach Rick Stansbury said. “Only two of the shots were from out of the paint. I thought he was good tonight in terms of his effort.”

He also wasn’t a superstar.

It’s time to take Sidney for what he really is. He’s not the five-star prospect coming out of high school that will be an All-American and a future NBA lottery pick. He’s not a program changer who will be the key to Mississippi State’s fortunes this season.

What he is, though, is a big body who can rebound the ball, set screens and occasionally knock down jumpers off the pick-and-roll. Sidney knows how to post up around the rim and draw defenders to his side of the floor, opening up driving lanes for Dee Bost, Rodney Hood and Deville Smith.

Sidney doesn’t need to be a star for Mississippi State this year. The Bulldogs have plenty of scorers, and a big man who has shown he can shoulder the inside load in Arnett Moultrie.

“As long as he defends and rebound, we’ll be alright,” Bost said. “He doesn’t need to score. It was great to see him out there hustling tonight.”

Look, some of the talent is still there for Sidney. He has a decent stroke from the arc and has an absolutely massive body, which he uses to carve out space on the low block. There were flashes of his potential last year, like the 23.0 points and 8.5 rebounds he averaged against Ole Miss and the 24-point, eight-rebound performance he notched against LSU.

Those aren’t every-night performances, though. If Mississippi State can get that from Sidney once every five games or so, the Bulldogs will be an NCAA tournament team.

“[I need] him to play hard and give good effort on both sides of the ball,” Stansbury said of Sidney. “In the second half, there was a loose ball, and he dove on the floor after it. That’s what I need from him.”

More than anything else, Sidney can’t be a negative influence. He can’t be a chemistry killer or someone who makes the season more about him than the team. Has he shown that in the past? Not really.

Mississippi State has a chance to be a very, very good team this season. A team that can make the NCAA tournament and maybe win a game or two if the chips fall properly.

But they need everyone on board.

Sidney can’t go off punching teammates, arguing with Stansbury or being a general distraction for the Bulldogs. He doesn’t have to make the team that much better; he just can’t make them worse.

“He goes 0-for-8 and we win by double-figures,” Stansbury said.

This is what Renardo Sidney has become – and it’s about time we all realize it.

Photo: AP

Posted on: November 14, 2011 12:26 pm

Injury bug bites several in the opening week

By Jeff Borzello

The personnel shakeups in college basketball over the past few weeks have been alarming. There have been freshmen declared ineligible, players suspended for rules violations or NCAA issues and now injuries are beginning to hit a few contenders as well. Several players missed games over the weekend due to injury; are they replaceable?

Khris Middleton, Texas A&M

On Friday, Texas A&M announced that leading returning scorer Khris Middleton (right) had a partially torn meniscus in his right knee and would miss 3-4 weeks. Middleton, a 6-foot-7 forward, averaged 14.4 points and 5.2 rebounds last season, and already had six points in the opener before suffering his injury. In his place, Ray Turner has stepped up his offensive production. Turner isn’t as athletic or the inside-outside option that Middleton is, but he scored 20 points in each of the first two games and also grabbed 14 rebounds.

Jordan Green took Middleton’s place in the lineup, providing a little bit of everything at the guard position. Fortunately for Billy Kennedy, the Aggies have plenty of depth to replace Middleton for the near future. A&M does head to Florida on Dec. 17; Middleton would certainly help the Aggies’ chances in Gainesville.

Mike Marra, Louisville

Louisville continues to get hit with the injury bug. Rakeem Buckles was already out until at least mid-December while freshman Wayne Blackshear will also miss the next couple of weeks. Stephan Van Treese is also still out with an injury. The news got worse on Sunday, as Mike Marra tore his ACL and will sit out the rest of the season. Marra was a good weapon off the bench who could come in and knock down jump shots.

Heading into the season, the Cardinals were overflowing with wings. Now, sophomore Russ Smith and freshman Angel Nunez might need to play more minutes than expected, while Jared Swopshire could see some time at the three. When Blackshear does return, he will have a chance to make an impact immediately off the bench.

Festus Ezeli, Vanderbilt

With Festus Ezeli, it’s a matter of suspension and injury. He was suspended for the first six games of the season, but then sprained his MCL and PCL and will miss six-to-eight weeks. Vanderbilt clearly misses its best inside player, as the Commodores looked stagnant offensively and lost to Cleveland State on Sunday, 71-58. The 6-foot-11 Ezeli averaged 12.8 points and 6.2 boards last season, and the Commodores are having a tough time replacing him.

Steve Tchiengang took Ezeli’s place in the lineup, and he has totaled nine points and 12 rebounds in two games. He’s a physical presence on the glass, but he lacks offensive ability. Jeffery Taylor is more of a perimeter threat, while Lance Goulbourne is not one to do much with his back to the basket. The only other frontcourt option is Rod Odom, another face-up player. Vandy needs to bide its time until Ezeli returns, relying on the perimeter group more than ever.

Short-term absences

Erick Green, Virginia Tech: With freshman Marquis Rankin already out, Green was expected to take on more of a point guard role. However, he missed the opener against East Tennessee State with an Achilles injury. He is a game-time decision for Monday night’s game against Monmouth. Without Rankin and Green, the Hokies struggled to control the ball, racking up more turnovers than assists. Sophomore Tyrone Garland better be ready. Tech is also without forward J.T. Thompson, who will miss the entire season with an ACL tear in his right knee.

Renardo Sidney, Mississippi State: Who really knows with Sidney at this point? He missed Saturday’s game with a groin injury, but head coach Rick Stansbury also said he was “sick” at one point. Arnett Moultrie stepped up in his absence, going for 28 points and 13 rebounds. Center Wendell Lewis saw an increase in minutes, but he is more of a factor on the boards and on the defensive end. Sidney should be back soon, but his attitude and conditioning is more of a concern than his injury.

Sammy Zeglinski, Virginia: The Cavaliers kicked off their campaign with a 37-point victory over South Carolina State on Sunday. Zeglinski, who played nearly 26 minute per game last season, missed the game with a sprained ankle. In his place, Jontel Evans handled the position effectively. The two split time last season, and Evans puts on more pressure at both ends. Zeglinski can play off the ball as well, and his injury isn’t expected to keep him out.

Photo: US Presswire

More College Basketball coverage
Posted on: November 9, 2011 9:52 pm
Edited on: November 9, 2011 9:53 pm

Hold your Miss. State criticism -- for now

By Matt Norlander

Yep, I've gotta be the guy who asks everyone to settle down. Used to be, in sports blogging, these kind of posts were of the against-the-grain variety. Now they're standard protocol, which is a good thing; the majority's gotten the gist of the importance of patience and the resistance to OMGREAXTION blogging.

That said, I think there's a desire to try and bring Rick Stansbury's team down as quickly as possible. Is any team as likely to be a target for criticism as the Bulldogs this year? A few (Memphis, Duke, Vanderbilt) will be quickly pilloried if they falter, but the history and baggage that comes with the Bulldogs means they're the ripest. They've earned it, and in time, if they stumble, we'll all have our chance to whip them.

But the way I see it: Tonight's 68-58 final was a great win for Akron; not a miserable loss for Mississippi State. Although Stansbury's team lost to a program that hadn't defeated a BCS-league team since 2008, it's just an early-November game with a few caution flags getting tossed up.

The biggest being Renardo Sidney sitting 15 minutes -- and down the stretch of the game -- despite only having two fouls. Sidney finished with 12 points and five rebounds, but most were scratching their head over why he wasn't in the game when Akron big man Zeke Marshall fouled out with 3:17 to go. Dee Bost was way too inconsistent, too. The team was out of sorts. But let's not allow rust lead to unrest.

The Bulldogs could get this turned around as easily as they could let it slip to hell. Doesn't mean Dee Bost can't be consistently erratic all year, or that Sidney has the potential to actually upstage his car-wreck quality into the full-on train variety. Good teams often lose early, even to inferior teams. Is Mississippi State a good team? Don't know yet, and neither do you. Let's huddle up after Thanksgiving and check the evidence then.

Photo: AP
Posted on: November 7, 2011 11:55 pm
Edited on: November 8, 2011 9:16 am

Mississippi State led by trio in opener

By Jeff Goodman

Rick Stansbury knew it wouldn't be pretty. Not against Eastern Kentucky and Jeff Neubauer's methodical offense and 1-3-1 zone defense.

But he's just happy to come out with a season-opening victory.

Dee Bost went for 23 points and six assists, UTEP transfer Arnett Moultrie had a double-double (13 points, 10 boards) in his debut and freshman Rodney Hood had 12 points and nine rebounds.

"It wasn't easy with the way they play and the way they control the game," Bost told CBSSports.com after the 76-66 win. "But A win is a win."

Oh yeah - and Renardo Sidney finished with a lackluster nine points and three rebounds in 23 minutes.

"He's better than he was, but we still want more from him," Stansbury said of the talented big man. "We need more from him."

Stansbury spoke highly of Bost - who he has from the start of the season this year - as well as Moultrie and Hood.

Stansbury is also optimistic that freshman guard Deville Smith will be cleared and be able to play against Akron later this week. Smith was released from the hospital on Monday after experiencing headaches and dizziness.

"Has the the ability to change games - both offensive and defensively," Stansbury said.

With Bost, Moultrie and Hood, Mississippi State has three guys that can match up with just about anyone.

The key, obviously, is the much-maligned Sidney - who needs to give consistent effort.

"He'll get it going," Bost said of his once highly touted teammate. "This team changed defenses a lot - and it was tough to get him the ball in the post."

If Sidney finally gets it - and it's a huge if - this team could be scary.

But so far, with one game in the books, he hasn't shown anything different.

Photo: AP
Posted on: September 13, 2011 3:25 pm

Kobe, LeBron and ... Renardo

By Jeff Goodman

Kobe, LeBron and Renardo.

"He's the third-most talented guy who has ever been in my gym, behind Kobe and LeBron," said former NBA player/coach John Lucas. "I had never seen him before, but now I see what all the fuss is about. He's got everything. He can do whatever he wants on the court. He's that talented."

Yes, Lucas was talking about the enigmatic Mississippi State big man Renardo Sidney - who spent about two months this summer working with Lucas in Houston.

Sidney, who was suspended on a couple of occasions last year at Mississippi State, did not travel on the team's trip earlier this summer, instead being sent to work with Lucas.

"He's been allowed to do whatever he wants," Lucas said. "People have been treating him like a pro since the eighth grade. He's been used to being catered to."

Lucas said he went right at Sidney, who has dropped about 20 or so pounds this past summer.

"We battled for a month," Lucas admitted. "It was his will against mine."

Lucas' gym down in Houston has been filled with NBA and college guys - Antonio McDyess, Tristan Thompson, Rashad Lewis, DeAndre Jordan, Thaddeus Young and Derrick Williams just to name a few.

And Renardo trails only Kobe and LeBron in terms of pure talent.

Sounds crazy?

It's not.

"He's got every component to the game," Lucas said. "He has so much basketball knowledge and I think that's part of the problem. He gets frustrated and mad at his teammates."

There are plenty who have written Sidney off with the lack of effort and discipline he has displayed over the last few years.

But Lucas is still holding out hope.

"I like his chances," he said when asked if Sidney can straighten out his act this season and fulfill that "potential" tag.

I'm still not sold.
Posted on: July 22, 2011 11:32 am
Edited on: July 22, 2011 11:43 am

Renardo Sidney won't go to Europe with teammates

By Jeff Goodman

This can’t be a good sign.

Mississippi State’s Renardo Sidney won’t travel with his teammates to Europe in two weeks and will instead return to Houston to work out with former NBA player/coach John Lucas.

This is an interesting development for a kid who has gone through his share of issues over the years, including multiple suspensions since arriving in Starkville.

The Bulldogs leave for Amsterdam on Aug. 5 and will play five games in 10 days in the Netherlands, Belgium and France.

You would think it would be the ideal bonding experience for a team that experienced chemistry issues a year ago.

"Renardo Sidney has returned to Houston, Texas, to continue working out with John Lucas,” Mississippi State coach Rick Stansbury said in a statement. “He will not accompany the team to Europe next month, but he is expected back on campus for the start of the fall semester in mid-August."

Stansbury told me earlier in the month that Sidney had been working with Lucas in the offseason, but did not wish to elaborate on the reason.

But Lucas, a former drug addict, is known for his ability to work with players who are attempting to turn around their lives. He runs a substance abuse recovery program in Houston that has helped numerous athletes.

The 6-foot-10 Sidney, after being ineligible for his entire freshman season and the start of his sophomore year, averaged 14.2 points and 7.6 rebounds in 19 games.  If he can get his act together -- a major if -- this is a Mississippi State team that could make some major noise in the SEC this year. 

Posted on: July 14, 2011 7:57 am

Miss St's Stansbury won't have to rely on Big Sid

By Jeff Goodman

NORTH AUGUSTA, S.C. - A year ago, Rick Stansbury needed Renardo Sidney. Really needed him.

I don’t believe that’s the case anymore.

The Mississippi State coach has dealt with plenty of drama concerning Sidney over the past two years – since the ultra-talented big man arrived on campus in Starkville.

The NCAA-imposed suspension and a couple dealt out by Stansbury – including the bleacher-brawl in Maui with then-teammate Elgin Bailey.

But a year ago, the Bulldogs coach didn’t have his leader to start the season – as point guard Dee Bost missed the non-league slate with an NCAA-imposed whacking of his own.

``He missed 21 days of practice in a row,” Stansbury said.

Now Bost, the clear-cut team leader, will be there from day one – and Mississippi State adds a pair of studs in UTEP transfer Arnett Moultrie and freshman Rodney Hood.

``He’s the real deal,” Stansbury said of Hood, who will likely slide into the spot vacated by Ravern Johnson. ``There’s no cracks. He does everything – he can shoot it, pass it, has a great mid-range game. He’s unselfish and isn’t a good kid; he’s a great kid.”

The lone aspect holding the 6-foot-8, 205-pound Hood back is strength.

And then there’s Moultrie.

He’s a versatile 6-foot-11 transfer who averaged 9.8 points and 6.7 rebounds as a sophomore at UTEP.

``There were plenty of days in practice when he was our best player,” Stansbury said. ``His engine really runs.”

With Bost, Moultrie and Hood, Stansbury has three guys who are as talented as just about anyone in the SEC.

And then, obviously, the X-factor becomes Sidney.

I’ve seen and known Sidney for years and while he has the talent to dominate games, I’ve almost given up on that notion.

Stansbury only said that Sidney “looks to be in better shape, but they key will be how it translates.”

He also said that despite how much of a train wreck last season appeared to be, Mississippi State still managed to finish 9-7 in league play.

``I’m trying to find the positive things as best as I can,” Stansbury said.

One of those for this year is how he will no longer have to depend on Big Sid. 

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com