Life's Battles Off The Court Prepare Sidney For Play On The Court
Meet Renardo Sidney, a sophomore forward for Mississippi State that has yet to play his first game for the Bulldogs. Recently, he sat down with mstateathletics.com and talked about the trials and tribulations of the past year, as well as the expectations he has for his future wearing the Maroon & White.
1. How would you describe your first year at Mississippi State and adjusting to life as a student-athlete and the demands that are required?
Renardo Sidney: "It was very hard adjusting to college life and being away from home. You have to be on time for everything. Juggling class and playing basketball can be very hard until you learn how to manage your time."
2. How tough mentally was it for you having to sit out this past season and wait on the NCAA to make its ruling regarding your eligibility?.
RS: "It was very tough sitting on the sidelines knowing I could have been helping my team. Playing alongside Jarvis was going to be an honor. I never got to do that, and that was difficult.
3. What kind of support did you get from your teammates and coaches?
RS: "A lot of support. They showed me real love. The days I was down, they all came and tried to cheer me up. They did a real good job of comforting me, especially when I learned the NCAA wasn't going to allow me to play."
4. Was there any life experience you learned from this process, and if so, how has it made you a better person?
RS: "I think it made me more aware of my surroundings. Then, just being on your own as an adult was difficult, especially me being a momma's boy."
5. When you learned you wouldn't be able to play until the 2010-11 season, what was your first thought?
RS: "I was hurt, because I knew I hadn't done anything wrong. It just killed me, because I really wanted to be on the floor helping my team win. Someone else was deciding my fate and it didn't feel fair. It was tough, and I experienced a lot of emotions. It was like a dream, but a bad one."
6. Were you able to get a feel for the atmosphere during games at the Hump, and what were your impressions?
RS: "The atmosphere was great. I think we've got the best student section in college basketball. The fans just love basketball. I love basketball, and I love the atmosphere here."
7. Have you envisioned what it will be like to put on a Mississippi State uniform for the first time?
RS: "I think I'll be very nervous, but I'll be excited to finally see Mississippi State on my chest. I'll be ready for the battles though and doing what it takes to help us win."
8. What can Bulldog fans expect from you this season?
RS: "They can expect a leader, a player that will be exciting on the court and very energetic. They're going to see one of the best that's ever come through Mississippi State."
9. Since you weren't able to play, how did you prepare yourself mentally and physically to not lose an edge on the court?
RS: "Coach (Richard) Akins. He's made sure I'm mentally and physically prepared. Trust me on that one."
10. Where do you feel your game is right now compared to where it was a year ago?
RS: "I've slimmed down a lot. I'm quicker and faster. My jumping ability is a lot higher. Conditioning wise, it's coming along. I'll be ready in October."
11. What do you feel are your strengths, and what area do you need to improve upon the most?
RS: "My strengths are being a leader. My weakness has been conditioning, but that's what I'm working on the most."
12. What's the biggest misconception about Renardo Sidney?
RS: "Two things. I'm not a West Coast guy, and I'm quiet."
13. To take your mind away from basketball, what do you do?
RS: "I love fishing. Anything with a rod, fishing pole and some bait, I'm out there. I'm the best fisherman on the team, and I hold the team record at Coach Stansbury's place for the most fish caught. By far.
14. Who's been your biggest influence?
RS: "Elgin Bailey. I see real toughness in him. He got hurt last year and again four or five months ago, and now he's doing sprints and working so hard to get back to where he was. I look up to him a lot. Seeing the stuff he does and what pain he's endured makes me want to work just as hard. After watching him go through all he has, I'm not about to complain about anything I've experienced."
15. What's it going to take for this team to get to the NCAA Tournament this season?
RS: "We've got to have chemistry and play and practice as a family. If we do that, we can go far. And that's why I came here. Because I know we can go farther than any team here ever has. That's how you've got to approach it."