When I was an assistant coach at the University of Tennessee, the other SEC assistants and I used to keep the difficulty of recruiting in perspective by telling each other, “At least we don’t have to recruit to Starkville.” As far as jobs go, MSU has to be at the bottom of the league. Ole Miss has Oxford, which is loaded with history. Auburn isn’t exactly Las Vegas but it’s a much more desirable location than Starkville. The great players in Mississippi haven’t even wanted to go to Mississippi State.
They’ve always seemed to overachieve in terms of the level of coach they’ve been able to hire and that has kept the Bulldogs competitive. Rick Stansbury is the latest coach and a guy who fits the school well in that he’s had success (including a trip to the Final Four) yet doesn’t seem to be searching for a “better” job. What his program is currently facing may force him to update his resume - assuming he doesn’t become a casualty of the current environment.
MSU wanted Renardo Sidney soooo bad when he came out of high school that they may overlooked the inordinate (even for today’s player) amount of baggage he brought. Sidney was an ultra-talented kid who was a load to deal with inside but had the ability to knock down three-pointers - as he did again and again during the CIF playoffs. It was reported he wanted to attend USC or UCLA but his father got involved in his recruitment and he wound up at Mississippi State. Does that sound familiar for some reason?
Sidney’s brief career has had more incidents than points, the latest being an actual fist fight between him and teammate Elgin Bailey (his road roommate) in the stands at a Christmas tournament in, of all places, Hawaii. If you can’t enjoy yourself (and behave) in Hawaii, you deserve to be sent back to Starkville. Naturally, he has made a statement of apology to all MSU fans, the players and coaches, the administration, i.e. the “form apology” that must be on file in every college’s Media Relations department.
What happens to Renardo Sidney now is anyone’s guess. It’s difficult to recruit - and keep - SEC talent in Starkville, Miss. The question now facing Bulldogs’ coaches and athletics administrators is:
“Has he become more problem than player?”