Mississippi State”s basketball program might not have a “Varnado” next season, but it will have a “Renardo.”
Renardo Sidney, a McDonald”s All-American from Fairfax High School in Los Angeles and the nation”s No. 7 prospect in the country according to ESPN”s Scout”s Inc., signed Thursday afternoon with Mississippi State.
MSU spokesman Gregg Ellis confirmed the signing, which ended a week of speculation about Sidney”s destination.
ESPN senior college basketball writer Andy Katz said MSU has strengthened its frontline, which could be even better if Jarvis Varnado decides not to enter the NBA draft and to return for his senior season.
“If Varnado returns, the Bulldogs could arguably have the top frontline in the SEC with Sidney and Kodi Augustus as the primary members in the rotation,” Katz said.
Sidney grew up in the Jackson area, so his decision to go to school in Starkville will be a homecoming, of sorts.
“A lot of my family hasn”t been able to see me play the last three years, and it will be good to be around them again,” Sidney said in a statement released by the MSU media relations department. “Mississippi State is a great school with a great program, and I”m coming in to help them win a national championship and build a bond with my new teammates.”
Sidney already has a bond with Romero Osby, a freshman with the Bulldogs last season. They played Amateur Athletic Union basketball together in Jackson.
Osby considers Sidney “like a little brother” and looks forward to being teammates with him again.
“I”ve known him all my life, and he”ll be a great addition to our team,” Osby said.
Sidney played at Jackson”s Piney Woods School as a freshman before being ruled ineligible by the Mississippi High School Activities Association per residency rules.
He moved to Los Angeles with his family in the summer of 2006, went to Artesia High School his sophomore year, and attended Fairfax the past two seasons.
Earlier this year at a Fairfax reception, Sidney announced he planned to attend Southern Cal.
After reports Sidney made a recruiting trip to MSU last weekend, The Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday that USC and the Sidney family had decided to end the recruiting process.
Sidney averaged 23.4 points, 10.6 rebounds, and 1.4 blocked shots as a senior, and coach Harvey Kitani believes “his best basketball is ahead of him.”
Messages left on Sidney”s phone seeking further comment Thursday night weren”t returned.