STARKVILLE — In the past year, Mississippi State”s men”s basketball program has gone through two eligibility appeals processes with the NCAA.
In that span, point guard Dee Bost and forward Renardo Sidney have kept a low profile and haven”t been available to the media.
In a press conference Thursday at Humphrey Coliseum, the duo fielded a variety of questions about their NCAA appeals and subsequent nine-game suspensions.
It was the first time Sidney has been made available to the media in the nearly 13 months he has been on campus. Up until Thursday, Bost hadn”t commented about his NBA draft withdrawal deadline mixup, which was finally resolved last week.
Flanked by MSU men”s basketball coach Rick Stansbury, Bost and Sidney delved into the emotional aspect of sweating through an NCAA appeal process. Details regarding their NCAA cases were limited, at least in Sidney”s case.
Stansbury interjected when Sidney was asked about the NCAA”s unethical conduct charge, which alleged Sidney lied to investigators about a trip to California. That charge ultimately cost Sidney his freshman season of eligibility. He also was suspended nine games and ordered to repay more than $11,000 for impermissible benefits received.
“He”s not going to get into any details now,” Stansbury said to a media member. “Don”t even get into those kind of details.”
Bost”s situation gained more clarity. The junior point guard must sit nine games this season and is scheduled to return for MSU”s second league game in January. He”s academically ineligible for the fall semester.
Bost missed the May 8 NBA draft withdrawal deadline set by the NCAA and was no longer considered an amateur athlete. Bost said he “listened to the wrong people” but said no one told him he couldn”t return to school if he stayed in the draft.
“I just thought I could go through the draft and work out, and still come back,” Bost said. “I listened to the wrong people. It”s just wrong people.”
Stansbury explained Bost”s case further, pointing out Bost”s deadline-day gaffe wasn”t about the date. He reiterating Bost”s belief he could go through the draft process and have the option to return to MSU.
MSU”s appeal to the NCAA included that the university made Bost aware of the draft deadline, which Stansbury backed up Thursday. However, Stansbury said there was no counsel between he and Bost about the ramifications of missing the deadline.
Stansbury also explained Bost”s Twitter post about his intentions to stay in the draft once the deadline passed, saying Bost”s tweet was because he intended to stay in the draft and didn”t know he couldn”t return to school.
“He wasn”t telling us all that until Sunday (May 9),” Stansbury said. “Whenever he finds out you can”t do it no longer, well that”s when it all changed.”
Stansbury also defended Bost”s academic record, explaining his ineligibility is due to not passing enough hours in the spring, where toward the end of the semester he was in Las Vegas training for the draft.
“If he hadn”t been going through this, he would have been fine academically,” Stansbury said. “Dee”s a good student, and it wasn”t about grades. It was about the amount of hours he had to pass.
“He did let the situation he was going through late in that semester cause him not to finish a class.”
For Sidney, Thursday”s press conference revealed more about his future than his past. The former Parade and McDonald”s All-American is expected to be a first-round NBA draft pick when he leaves Starkville.
On Thursday, Sidney indicated his time as a Bulldog could be limited to this season. He said he was glad to get the opportunity “to play one more year,” and later rebuffed the notion he considered playing in Europe after spending — and ultimately losing — his freshman season on the bench. He praised strength and conditioning coach Richard Akins” methods as part of the reason he decided to return to MSU following the NCAA”s ruling in the spring.
“I thought if I came back one more year, (Akins) could do his thing and put me where I need to be at,” Sidney said.
When asked to clarify his intentions past this season, Sidney was vague about the possibility of entering the 2011 NBA draft.
“I don”t know,” Sidney said. “I made the decision to come back. I don”t know if I”m going to make the decision to come back next year. Depends on how the season goes.”
NOTE: MSU”s schedule is close to completion, as the team is waiting one more contract to be signed and returned. Sidney is expected to return Dec. 18 for the team”s game against Virginia Tech in the Bahamas.
When the fall semester ends Dec. 11, Bost, assuming he regains academic eligibility, will begin serving his nine-game suspension. That”s when the Bulldogs will play four games in four days and one exhibition in Jackson before heading to the Bahamas.
MSU will follow with three games in the Diamond Head Classic in Hawaii and a potential game against St. Mary”s in Las Vegas. The contract for the St. Mary”s game is the only one needed to finish the 2010-11 schedule.