By DANNY P. SMITH
This just doesn't appear to be a good move on Renardo Sidney's part.
Sidney, who is preparing for his junior season on the Mississippi State basketball team this fall, has decided not to travel with his teammates overseas for a 10-day, five-game tour of Europe to continue his training in Houston, Texas, with former NBA standout John Lucas.
MSU officials indicated that the decision to train away from the team was Sidney's and he gained permission from 14-year head coach Rick Stansbury.
Sidney has had enough bad press over the past couple of years to open a library and this probably does nothing more than toss more hot coals on him, but could a better decision have been made in this case?
Although his time with Lucas seems to have been beneficial, shouldn't Sidney want to be around the other Bulldogs right now? It just doesn't look good for Sidney to be in Houston, while his coaches and teammates are bonding in Europe. He needs to be there bonding with them.
It's another one of those deals where someone outside the program will look at this and come up with the idea that he's not being a team-player again and is only thinking about himself. That's the perception and one MSU should be helping him steer away from.
Sidney has visions of becoming an NBA player one day and there's nothing wrong with that. Being around Lucas, one of greats in the league, is a way to stay on the path to that goal.
Sidney said he ran 18 miles per week while conditioning with Lucas and lost 23 pounds and has never worked that hard. I'm sure it's doing some good.
On the other hand, Sidney has a reputation to build.
When a person gets into a fight in the stands with a former teammate in Hawaii that was caught by ESPN cameras and then has to apologize for it, logic would suggest that he should do everything in his power to repair relationships with players and coaches. There's not a better way to repair relationships than than to take a long trip with them. Sidney should be going to Europe with the Bulldogs and not back to Houston.
While with Lucas, Sidney can train without the practice limitations of the NCAA rulebook. If he was with the team, he would be under the strict practice time and conditioning guidelines of the NCAA. That's fine, but why should it be different for Sidney than the rest of the team?
So far in the offseason, Sidney has said all of the right things. Fans want to believe he is a changed person and really wants to contribute big things on the court for MSU next season.
Sidney said himself that he has to prove some things about his attitude, his game and his conditioning.
It just seems a trip to Europe with his teammates would help in accomplishing all three of those desires.
Danny P. Smith is sports editor and columnist for the Starkville Daily News. The opinions in this column are his and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Daily News or its staff.