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Sunday, October 19th, 2008 at 3:39 pm  |  8 responses

Renardo Sidney: The ‘Could Be’

Sidney can always be the best player on the court.

by Ryan Jones
Excerpted from SLAM 111

Renardo Sidney had just finished his freshman year of high school outside Jackson, Miss.; the fact he didn’t actually play a game as a frosh at the small, private Piney Woods School (the Mississippi High School Activities Association, doing its best impersonation of its Ohio peers, controversially declared him ineligible for violating the state’s transfer guidelines) didn’t keep Sidney from holding his spot atop the ’09 rankings. His work on the summer circuit in ’05 had taken care of that: Sidney was co-MVP of the underclass all-star game at ACBD Camp, and the way he played with the Jackson-based MBA Magic AAU program only added to his legend.

But back to the summer of ’06. Without having played a single high school game, Renardo Sidney was a household name among grassroots hoops fiends and college coaches. He was also on his way out of town. “I was ready to come out here and start a new life,” Renardo says now. We’re in the dining room of a Chinatown restaurant (“About all we eat is Chinese food,” he says) to grab an early dinner where, while his father, Renardo Sr., studies a newspaper sports section, Junior awaits the arrival of a heaping platter of orange chicken and explains how he ended up on the West Coast.

“It was about the whole family,” he says, “and I thank my Pops for that. It was his decision—well, it was all of our decision, but he has the say-so. The first time he talked about moving here, I was kind of looking at him crazy, but when I got here, I just said thank you. I knew it was a good thing.”

And what’s not to like? “You got a lot of stuff to do,” he says. “When I got out here, I felt the weather, felt the energy, and there’s a lot of pretty girls. My favorite thing is to go to Universal Studios. They got rides for big people—Disneyland got too many little rides—so that’s why I like it. You know, it’s just a good place to have fun, be a kid.”

Of course, families usually have a tangible reason for relocating across the country, and if Renardo Sr. is the decision-maker, his son is literally and figuratively the Sidneys’ biggest motivation. Given the eligibility drama back home and the hype that built up before he was even in high school, it’s hard to blame father or son for wanting a fresh start. They got it—with no shortage of sneaker-company-and-major-college-cash-fueled outside influences trying to sway their destination—last summer, landing in nearby Lakewood, CA, and joining a pair of stacked lineups: The So-Cal All-Stars AAU program and Artesia High. With SCA, he needed no time to settle in on a squad that already featured prep All-Americans Brandon Jennings, Taylor King and Kevin Love; unsurprisingly, they dominated last summer. He then made his high school debut at Artesia, teaming with top-25 wing James Harden (now at Arizona State) and ’08 standout guard Malik Story to lead the Pioneers to a Division III state championship.

“I think I play like Kevin Garnett-slash…what’s his name, played for the Lakers a long time ago? Magic. I love to run, and I think I play like him a little, too,” Renardo says, simultaneously explaining his game and showing his age. “I play all five positions. Next level, I’ll probably be a 4, 3 or 2, but my Pops plays me at the 1 or the 2. If I have a lil’ dude on me, I go to the block; if I have a big dude, I go outside. I just love to mismatch on people.” Others compare Renardo to Kevin Durant and Antoine Walker. Since only one of those players is old enough to drink, it’s too soon to say if those comparisons are on-point, but they do offer a clear picture of size, versatility, range and handles. Like Toine a dozen years ago or Durant today, the potential for greatness is undeniable.

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  • ciolkstar

    Word. This dude is raw. No comments?

  • Static

    Last I heard this guy visited UNLV and Mississipi State and was even considering Memphis or USC, At 6’10 he should be solid at the PF and C positions in college, and he can spread the defense as long as his J is consistent. Huge upside with the right squad

  • http://www.ballislife.com Justin Walsh

    I seriously doubt he will go to college. I’ve seen him play in person, we (ballislife) have filmed him on numerous occasions and I believe he will go the Brandon Jennings route. And yeah ciolkstar, he is raw. Ridiculously talented. Static, if he went to UNLV, that team would be the new fab 5, added with Justin Hawkins on the roster. Oh well… I just don’t think it’s meant to be. I see Renardo playing for a FIBA team. Also ciolkstar, i think there are less comments on videos because the media preview is on the bottom right of the site, I’d bet if they also put media updates on the news feed occasionally there would be more comments.

  • http://www.lakers.com Magic

    Dude can’t play D. Shot blocks against short white dudes. He is soft and Hyped.

    I’d pass on him. Will Ride the Bench in NBA.

  • sef22

    uh magic, you must only go to those types of camps, i’ve actually played against the kid and i’m not short nor white, im an ex-college b-ball player and the kid is legit.The kid can shoot the jumper consistently, he can get to the basket and finish, he works out the post when the mismatch presents itself or he’s pissed and feels like dunking on you, I,ve seen him run the fast break and drop dimes, did i mention he’s 6′ 10, apparently you have some ill feelings that come from sum other reasons. Only bad habits the kid has is eating alot,which alot of us do i.e. Baron Davis, and he plays up to his comp and if the compis not there he feels he has nothing to prove on lesser comp, so stop hating and do some research b4 you leave unwarranted comments

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  • http://ballislife.com Arek

    Renardo Sidney is NOT soft by ANY means

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