I had a dream about Renardo Sidney on Wednesday night. I don’t remember much about it, but I do remember that in my dream, he was playing basketball for No. 23 Mississippi State.
This means one of two things: My psychic abilities are returning to me, or I’ve written way too many stories about the 6'10" freshman.
I don’t think I’ve ever written so much about a player who wasn’t actually playing.
I’m not sure that’s going to change any time soon either. The NCAA’s Amateurism Fact-Finding Committee will convene Monday to review the Eligibility Center’s findings from its amateurism evaluation of Sidney and MSU’s response to those findings (and the NCAA’s response to that response).
Andy Katz of ESPN.com wrote the other day that any sort of resolution in the case will probably be “weeks away.”
MSU coach Rick Stansbury and the Sidney family’s attorney, Don Jackson, both have expressed optimism that they might hear something regarding Sidney’s status this week, but if so, it won’t be any sort of final word.
Once the 16-member Fact-Finding Committee, composed of officials from various Division I schools and conferences, reaches a decision—and it must do so within seven days of meeting—then MSU would have an opportunity to appeal an unfavorable decision.
Then the case would go before the Amateurism Cabinet, which makes a final decision that “shall not be subject to further review by any other authority,” according to the NCAA.
So when’s the earliest we could see Sidney on the court? Well, if the Fact-Finding committee rules quickly in favor of Sidney, then he could, in theory, be in the rotation for Thursday’s game at Arkansas.
But is it too late to work him in? It’s not like MSU (15-3, 3-0 SEC) has outstanding chemistry at the moment, as evidenced by the long scoring droughts it has had in recent games. Depth in the post, and off the bench, is a huge concern as well.
As Stansbury has said before, Sidney’s talent alone would be enough to get him in the rotation immediately.
Problem is, he hasn’t been practicing with the team for a while, therefore the big men, who are eligible, have been getting enough reps. Sidney, on the other hand, works out individually.
So, if he were cleared next week, the most sensible approach would be to bring him off the bench for just a few minutes per game, see how he fits into the flow of things, and then eventually have him be one of the main subs.
If he progresses quickly enough, Sidney could eventually be starting.
But that’s the best-case scenario. More realistic is that, if he’s able to play at all this season, it would be near the end, when perhaps MSU has gotten on a roll and would have a tough time working in a new guy, no matter how talented he is.
The way things have gone thus far, Sidney putting on an MSU uniform this season—or ever—seems little more than a dream.