Renardo Sidney Cont’d

As discussed previously in this space, recent history suggests heartbreak may lie at the end of Renardo Sidney Rd. for Virginia head men’s basketball coach Dave Leitao.  On Thursday, just days before the Charlottesville trip, the LA Times reported that “Sidney Sr. said the leading pursuers of his son are St. Louis, Kansas State, Kansas, Oregon State, Mississippi State, Washington and Connecticut.”  Furthermore, “playing professionally in Europe might also be an option.”   At a minimum, Sidney is at least a bit more intriguing that your usual elite high school basketball player…


At present, “NYC-based recruiting guru” Franklin Harris tells the Daily Progress that Sydney is “the best player in the country. The only reason he’s not [rated] No. 1 is because he can be lazy at times and can sometimes be disinterested. High school basketball is just not competitive for him. I’ve seen him play maybe 10 times. He can score inside, put it on the floor. He’s a prototypical NBA 4-man.”’s Dave Telep tells the Richmond Times-Dispatch: “When Renardo Sidney is in shape and focused on his game, he may not have a rival in this class. The sky is truly the limit for him, and it’s completely up to him.”  A look back in time reveals even more about the well-documented career path Sidney embarked down at an early age.


An in-depth July 2006 Washington Post article:


§         Quoted Sidney as saying high school basketball is “not that important. I just like to win tournaments and rings and stuff like that… I just wait until AAU to show everything I got.”

§         Noted that Sidney became the top-rated prospect in his class, by not playing high school basketball at all in 9th grade, but rather on the AAU & camp circuits, where he claimed MVP awards in 2005’s “ABCD underclassmen all-star game” and in a 2006 “elite summer-league tournament in Portland, Ore., where he outshined several senior all-Americans, namely Ohio’s O.J. Mayo.”

§         Revealed that his father – Renardo, Sr. – left his school security guard job (“family could only afford most nights to eat eggs and toast”) for a Reebok consultant gig (“Nike and Adidas made similar offers“).  The elder Sidney told the Post the job responsibilities “entail making sure his son plays at their tournaments.”

§         Indicated a former coach and/or Sidney family members had been approached by “at least four individuals who claimed they were connected with sports agencies…. [hoping to] represent Sidney if he signs a lucrative NBA contract in four years.”

§         Dropped this line: “Once the family settles in Los Angeles, the elder Sidney said his son will become an ‘overnight celebrity.’”


An August 2007 New York Times profile by a former Pennsylvania Quaker:


  • Waxed poetic: “seeing a 6-foot-10, 250-pound high school player like Sidney shoot feathery-soft 3-pointers is akin to seeing your sister dressed up to go to the prom with your best friend. You may have braced yourself ahead of time, but you are still not ready when it happens.”
  • Declared Sidney’s game as the product of its environment: “He is a product of camp basketball. He does not require a guard to get him the ball. Instead he has developed the shooting and ball-handling abilities to score on his own. He is the epitome of camp evolution. Now the only question is whether the hype will destroy what it has wrought.”
  • Criticized potential flaws in his game: “Sidney had an aversion to defensive rebounding, instead choosing to sneak out to halfcourt in hopes of finding himself alone for a dunk. He was engaging in the time-honored pickup-game tradition of cherry picking.” and “I noticed he was not particularly ardent about his offensive rebounding, either.” and “he was largely a spectator. He did not follow his shots. He took fadeaway shots in the post and backpedaled out of the action. In a close game, he watched as his teammates battled underneath for the ball.”
  • Analyzed the selfishness in his postgame comments: “He talked about how he got ‘no boards’ and did not block any shots.”


August An August 2007 feature:


  • Compared Sidney to Greg Oden – “a big man with stunning, guard-like skills,” perhaps on pace to “follow in Oden’s footsteps and be No. 1 on the 2010 draft board.” 
  • Called Sidney “more versatile than” Chris Webber, but also “susceptible to lapses in effort.”
  • Shared this compliment from Kevin Love: “He could be a special player. He’s ahead of his time.”
  • Documented two highlights from Sidney’s middle-school days: attending the ABCD Camp as a 15-year-old 8th-grader & receiving his fist recruiting letter in 7th grade from Alabama’s Mark Gottfried.
  • Quoted the elder Sidney on the key reason behind the move from Mississippi to LA: “the same thing O.J. [Mayo] said [about USC] — more marketing.  Mississippi is a small pond.  I love it as my home, but you have to go to a bigger market to get [Renardo’s] name out.”
  • Details the LA-lifestyle the two Sidney’s put on display for the interview: “”Dad wore sunglasses in a dark restaurant, as well as two jewel-encrusted prep state title rings that had recently been won by Renardo and his older brother, who’s now at Santa Monica College. Son wore a Bluetooth clip on his right ear, occasionally tapped away at his Sidekick, and spoke happily about ‘all the pretty girls’ he sees in L.A.”
  • Listed the next step in the AAU game  – “the LA Dream Team, which happens to be coached by Renardo Sr., and spent much of an 0-4 run in the Reebok Summer Championships trying to expand his repertoire by shooting threes — with limited success — rather than playing in the paint.”  Dad/coach on the team switch: “I wanted him to have his own team. I wanted him to call his own shots, and learn how to make everyone around him better. I’m trying to get him ready for D-I.”
  • Dropped this line from the 6-10 Sidney: “I don’t really want to just be a center. That would get boring.”


An excellent but lengthy piece in the Halloween edition of the New York Times:


  • Remarked that Sidney’s 270 pounds make him look “less like a heavyset teenager rounding slowly into shape than a longtime athlete who has spent his off-season at the buffet.”
  • Recounted that this summer, Sidney “had put on weight” and “talked wistfully about going fishing and ‘getting away from basketball,’ which made him sound more like a 38-year-old power forward on a second tour with the Clippers” and caused “a handful of scouts” to chalk him up as “a bust.”
  • Noted that “his father hopes to hire a personal chef soon, someone who will keep the fridge stocked with three healthy precooked meals a day.”
  • Quoted Clark Francis of Hoop Scoop Online: He is a “prima donna and has one of the worst attitudes that we’ve ever seen…  Sidney could be the poster boy for many of [the] things that are wrong with grass-roots basketball and is the perfect example of just how bad the sense of entitlement among many of the top players has become…  He’s gonna be up there as one of the all-time players [who make you] just shake your head and wish he’d wake up and figure it out. Four years ago he could play any position, do things on the perimeter. He wasn’t heavy. And now he’s basically an underachiever. It’s a tragedy.”
  • Quantified his career arc: ”Sidney estimates he plays close to 100 games a year.”  “Next spring, he will finish his senior year having attended three high schools in two states and having played for three summer travel teams since 2005.”  A long way since his Jackson, MS “middle school charged $3 admission to his games.”
  • Listed his strengths: “a clean flick-knife of a jumper, smooth from anywhere on the court,” “the ballhandling ability of someone a foot shorter and five years older,” and “touch passes and no-looks and footwork out of an Arthur Murray studio” adding up to “a veteran’s game” possibly “too fundamentally sound… At his size, at this level, elegance can look more like nonchalance.”
  • And weaknesses: “he also has a maddening tendency to drift,” “mostly inert and grabby on defense” during one game where “he manages only a handful of points before fouling out with several minutes remaining”
  • Potentially including a former haircut – “the mohawk, a hair style that Sidney wore, briefly and regrettably, earlier this year. He thinks it had a good deal to do with his problems at a tournament in Arizona in May, when he recalls earning at least one technical foul every game and getting tossed twice… Per Sydney, “’The mohawk made me kinda crazy.’ People noticed, too. The University of Arizona student paper described him as ‘not the character Arizona wants.’ So Sidney shaved the thing off and swore never to have one again. ‘And when I cut the mohawk off,’ he says, ‘I was just a normal person.’”
  • Pointed out that his “freelance trainer” is former NBA big man John “Hot Plate” Williams.
  • Commented that Sidney’s nickname – ‘the Difference’ – doesn’t seem to be used by anyone outside his father.
  • Relayed these nuggets from Renardo Sr.: “We’re gonna be with anybody that got the most money. So if you see us with Ponys on, you know Pony came over.” and “The only ranking we care about is David Stern’s.” and “We’re good friends with Master P.”
  • And this one from Reebok’s Christopher Reeves: “My thing is, what makes high-school basketball the alpha and omega? White people, traditionally. Indiana. Playing for your school’s great, but he’s not playing as a hobby, so he can go out on a Friday night, score 17 points and go to the pizza parlor. He’s playing because it’s his career.” 

A piece last month on included a video and still more nuggets from Sidney:


  • “About all we eat is Chinese food.”
  • “My favorite thing is to go to Universal Studios. They got rides for big people—Disneyland got too many little rides.”
  • “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.”
  • “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.”




One Response to “Renardo Sidney Cont’d”

  1. McDonald’s vs. Burger King « bryanerogers’s weblog Says:

    […] More on the budding (?) Renardo Sidney–Dave Leitao relationship, originally documented here and here…  Tuesday’s LA Times recap of The Sidney family’s visit to Charlottesville last weekend […]

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