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Smith Column: Sidney must really check his character

January 5, 2011

Sports Editor

Mississippi State sophomore forward Renardo Sidney has something to prove and it has nothing to do with his basketball skill.
From what little I've seen of Sidney on the court, he's pretty good with a basketball in his hands.
The area Sidney must work to improve on and become consistent with is his character.
It doesn't speak well of a young man to have two altercations with teammates that lead to suspensions within a week's time of each other.
One of those incidents happened in practice before the Bulldogs participated in the Diamond Head Classic in Hawaii, then Sidney and teammate Elgin Bailey got into a fight prior to Utah-Hawaii matchup on Dec. 23.
Sidney and Bailey were both suspended indefinitely and sent home from Hawaii on separate planes.
On Monday, MSU head basketball coach Rick Stansbury announces that the suspensions for Bailey and Sidney were lifted, effective immediately.
Sidney is expected to be available for Saturday's Southeastern Conference opener against Alabama, while Bailey has requested to be released from the team so he can transfer to another school.
Stansbury really seems to be taking a big chance in keeping Sidney on his basketball team.
The Bulldogs are going to really have to monitor Sidney close as they move forward this season.
As I've expressed back when Phil Turner left the team last year, it's difficult to understand the things that go on behind the scenes of a program unless you are there. That's something the media can't do and we have no crystal ball to show us those things.
All indications are that Bailey was the instigator of the fight in Hawaii and did something to set Sidney off.
Sidney must commit to handling those types of situations better, especially in front of an arena full of people and on national television.
What happens the next time something doesn't go Sidney's way in a practice or in a game? What happens if he gets hit with a technical foul? How is he going to handle the situation?
Sidney is pretty good at apologizing. He's had to do that twice already this season. The thing Sidney has to do is prevent the circumstances that cause him to have to say he's sorry.
Stansbury believes that the discipline taken against Sidney has sent a message. In a statement, Stansbury said, "it's time to move on and learn from these mistakes."
Here's hoping that Sidney will move on in a positive way and has learned a lesson from all of this.
There's no doubt that Sidney can help MSU on the court, but when he does things that cause him to be suspended where he can't play, that's not good for anyone.

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.

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