December 26, 2011 10:51:00 AM
OCONOMOWOC, Wis. -- I hope all my loyal readers had a Merry Christmas......and now we're back to our regularly scheduled blog post on Mississippi State University sports.
The Mississippi State men's basketball program is now one year removed from Renardo Sidney and Elgin Bailey have been suspended indefinitely after their roles in a fight in the stands of the Stan Sheriff Center in Honolulu during the Diamond Head Classic.
After the fight, Sidney averaged 14.2 points and 7.6 rebounds per game during the 2010-11 season that saw the Bulldogs finish a disappointing 17-14 and receive no postseason invitation for the first time since 2006.
After a roller coaster ride that was last year, MSU fans held their breath again as State officials announced in July the junior center has returned to Houston, Texas to work out with former NBA player and coach John Lucas.
In what some may have thought was the beginning of a "same song, different verse" situation, Sidney, who averaged 14.2 points per game with 7.6 rebounds last season for MSU, spent a majority of this past May and June working out at Lucas' camp where he told local reporters on July 11 he lost "23 pounds" working on his conditioning.
In 10 games, the 280-pound center is averaging 10.2 points per game and 4.8 rebounds per game while shooting 55.6 percent from the field.
ESPN college basketball analyst Fran Fraschilla, who is doing the color commentator for MSU's game in Dallas Wednesday vs. No. 5 Baylor (8 p.m., ESPN2) has put the Bulldogs current style of play in perfect context on Twitter today.
"Reason Mississippi State is sneaky good because Sidney's play just a bonus & not distraction, so far. Bost/Moultrie/Hood keys to team," Fraschilla tweeted Monday.
During MSU's 82-67 victory in Sidney's hometown of Jackson, he was unable to play in the second half due to what MSU spokespeople said was a strained patella tendon in his left leg. After being checked out by the MSU training staff, the 280-pound junior sat on the bench for the rest of the game with ice packs down his leg.
"I just know he couldn't go in the second half and said he tweaked his knee somehow," Stansbury said on Dec. 22.
We'll have an update later on this blog coming out of Stansbury's press conference
Here's what Stansbury said in Jackson about how Sidney has changed one year removed from his last trip to Mississippi Coliseum.
"There's a lot of areas he's improved in but there's no question there's a lot of areas he can still improve in," Stansbury said. "Like I've said many times, we just need baby steps every day. We need him to keep moving forward in the right direction for us."
So I throw it out to you, the loyal reader, what do you think of Sidney a year removed from his Mississippi State debut and incident in Hawaii?
All of the Dispatch MSU Sports Blog readers: feel free to follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/matthewcstevens for up-to-date Mississippi State coverage.