Renardo Sidney and USC Part Ways

April 29, 2009

Sources are claiming that McDonald's All-American basketball recruit Renardo Sidney will not be playing next year for the USC Trojans Men's basketball team after all. Sidney had orally committed to USC, but had yet to officially sign with the school. Apparently, the decision was mutual on both ends.

On the basketball court, the loss of Sidney is a huge blow to the program, as the 6'10" big man would have provided the Trojans with a versatile player who could bang down low or step out and hit an occasional three. He, along with freshman point guard Lamont Jones of Oak Hill Academy, were expected to fill the void created by the departure of USC's top three players to the NBA draft. Now the loss of this prize recruit has made the cupboard that much more bare for head coach Tim Floyd.

Off the court, however, the Trojans may have dodged a bullet.

Sidney had recently achieved a passing SAT score, making him eligible to play this year. Nevertheless, the Trojans still decided to back away from him, raising several red flags about potential NCAA violations. USC is already under investigation by the NCAA for the school's conduct with former Trojan athletes Reggie Bush and O.J. Mayo, and most likely wanted to play it safe and avoid a third probe.

USC becomes the second school to publicly back away from Sidney for undisclosed reasons, as UCLA also abruptly stopped recruiting him prior to his announcement to attend USC.

For a player of Sidney's talent, the recruiting trail has become surprisingly cold, as Mississippi State is reportedly the only school with a strong interest in signing him. The Bulldogs recently lost shotblocker extraordinaire Jarvis Varnado to the NBA Draft, and thus, they have an immediate need that a talent like Sidney could fill.

Were Sidney to sign with Mississippi State, the move would be a return home of sorts. Sidney originally grew up in the South before moving to California in the tenth grade.

Of course, there is also the option of playing in Europe, similar to fellow elite prospects Brandon Jennings and Jeremy Tyler. However, Sonny Vaccaro, the man who assisted both of those players with their jump overseas, already has dismissed such a notion, telling one news agency that he would not help Sidney.

Whatever path Sidney chooses this year will probably be short-lived, since he will likely put his name into the early entry list for the NBA Draft as soon as he meets the league's minimum age requirement.

By Mike Elliott
Staff Editor for

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