Renardo Sidney continues to describe Saturday’s open scrimmage with one word: frustrating.
“I was way frustrated,” State’s sophomore forward said Monday during Mississippi State’s media day. “It was a terrible day for me.”
After being shown Sidney’s first live game action with referees since the California High School state championship game nearly two and a half years ago, Mississippi State head coach Rick Stansbury is trying to tamper the expectations for State’s spotlighted big man.
“Don’t expect to too much from him too soon,” Stansbury said. “He’s got a long way to go. He’s got to understand how hard you have to work every day, the toughness this game is played with and it’s not going to happen overnight.”
The 52-minute scrimmage ended with the former McDonald’s All-American struggling to finish with just 10 points.
“Hopefully Saturday maybe that light came on a little bit for him,” Stansbury said. “He did get frustrated because he wasn’t very productive. As long as he channels that in the right way to make himself better I think it’s good.”
The 6-foot-10 forward settled for outside jumpers after not getting the ball where Stansbury said Monday his “bread and butter will be at” this season.
“It’s up to the point guard and everybody else on the team to keep him motivated and let him know he’s going to get the ball on the block,” junior guard Dee Bost said. “The main reasons he’s floated away is he’s not confident with them getting it to him so he pops out. He knows they’ll throw it to him when he pops out because he’s wide open.”
Sidney was seen verbally frustrated toward the referees and teammates on multiple occasions Saturday after being among some physical play and going a few possessions without getting an inside touch.
“It was more a (maturity) thing,” Sidney said. “It’s not an excuse – I played horrible and have to get into shape.”
Sidney, who was on the floor according to the MSU statistics for a combined 33 minutes, would finish the scrimmage on the bench after he appeared to suffer some severe cramping in his left leg.
“Catching cramps for the rest of the game (and) I couldn’t catch my breath,” said Sidney, who’s admitted to be more than his listed weight of 270 pounds. “That’s more conditioning and getting more shape. I got to improve on all of that.”
Sidney maintained Monday he has done most of his work near the low block in practices and closed scrimmages but flared out beyond the three-point arc because he wasn’t getting the ball inside.
“Saturday was my only time that I stepped out,” Sidney said. “Like I was saying I was frustrated not getting the ball. The low ball is where I dominate the best. I don’t think anybody can stop me in college on the block.”
Stansbury stated Monday that he wasn’t sure how many minutes Sidney would see in Saturday’s exhibition game against NAIA opponent Lindsey Wilson at 2 p.m., because after that game he will be ineligible for competition until the Bulldogs begin its 14-day off campus stretch that starts with another exhibition game in Jackson against Belhaven College before playing in regular season games in the Bahamas, Hawaii and Las Vegas.
“My main objective going into this exhibition is playing Sidney I can promise you,” Stansbury said. “We've got nine other games to play before we get him and we got to get some of these other guys right.”
One of those guys that will be needed to replace Sidney early in the Bulldogs lineup is sophomore forward Wendell Lewis that looked to thrive inside by totaling 13 points, seven rebounds and two blocks Saturday in the open scrimmage.
“Coach talked to me about getting more physical and I’d be playing a little soft – little too finesse,” Lewis said. “I’d say ‘yeah, that’s my game’ but I had to change it to get more physical around the basket if I want to play at this level.”
The major difference from his freshman year was three alley-oop slam dunks coming from Bost and two of those plays working off effective pick-and-roll chemistry between the two players.
Stansbury commented how the fact his sophomore dunked the basketball instead of trying to causally laying the ball is a major improvement over his lackluster 2009-10 season.
“The biggest thing with him is playing with that toughness, energy level and use what you got.” Stansbury said. “He’s a got a great body and he has quickness and is the most athletic big man we’ve got.”