Renardo Sidney, Gerald Robinson, Donte Williams

I’ll say it: I would draft Renardo Sidney, and you should want him, too

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Late Wednesday night, I rambled on about the cautionary tale of Renardo Sidney.

And I stand by what I wrote. But I also stand by this: I not only think that Sidney will get drafted, I think that it would be foolish to pass over him in the second round.

For everything that Sidney did wrong during the last five years — the weight gain, the utter lack of conditioning, the fighting, the apathetic mindset towards the game — his talent was simply undeniable. You can see why he was slobbered over as a prospect years before he could legally drive a car.

He’s 6-foot-10 in shoes. He has a wingspan that border on 7-foot-5 and a 30″ no-step vertical despite being 304 pounds and notching the second-highest body-fat percentage (22.4%) in Draft Express’ database. More importantly, you can see signs of his ability as a basketball player: good footwork, a soft touch around the rim, range on his jump shot.

If he ever does figure it out, Sidney has the ability to be a star.

That’s a massive if, I know, but the great part about second round picks is that nothing is guaranteed. The teams have the rights to the player, but they aren’t committed to giving them a contract the way that they are with first round picks. There is no guaranteed money. Sidney would have to earn his spot on the team.

If he doesn’t put in the work to get into shape, he’s cut. If he doesn’t develop the right attitude, he’s cut. If it ends up that he loves fatty foods and long sessions of couch time more than he does playing basketball, he’s cut. The NBA loves self-starters, guys that don’t have to be told to workout and that don’t need to be given motivation from their coaching staff to get in the gym. If Sidney can’t adapt to that, the NBA won’t spend much time waiting.

But if he can — if he ever figures out how to get into shape and live up to his natural ability — than I don’t think it is crazy to say that Sidney could make an all-star team one day.

There is literally zero risk in picking Sidney and a huge reward on the slight chance that he puts it all together.

And when the other post options late in the second round are guys like Henry Sims and Miles Plumlee, Justin Hamilton and JaMychal Green … well, the choice is obvious.

Rob Dauster is the editor of the college basketball website Ballin’ is a Habit. You can find him on twitter @robdauster.

PREGAME SHOOTAROUND: Some conference matchups play out before football

Oregon forward Dillon Brooks, left, reacts after scoring a basket against Utah during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Salt Lake City, Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016. Oregon defeated Utah 77-59. (AP Photo/George Frey)
(AP Photo/George Frey)
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GAME OF THE NIGHT: Utah at No. 16 Oregon, 4:00 p.m.

From Rob Dauster’s Weekend Preview:

Utah suffered one of the worst losses I’ve seen in a while on Thursday night, when Brandon Taylor, for some unknown reason, decided to foul an Oregon State player firing up a half court prayer at the buzzer. The Utes, who are arguably the second-best team in the Pac-12, will look to bounce-back on Sunday against the best team in the Pac-12, No. 16 Oregon at 4:00 p.m.

FIVE THINGS TO WATCH FOR:

1. No. 12 SMU will attempt to stay atop the American standings as they travel to South Florida. While the Mustangs won the first matchup between these two teams at home by 14, they’ve dropped their last two games on the road.

2. A few more American contests are going down as East Carolina travels to UConn and Houston heads to Tulsa. The game between the Cougars and Golden Hurricane is especially interesting because both teams are sitting two games back of SMU and trying to make a move on the postseason.

3. No. 5 Iowa continues the soft part of the schedule as they face Illinois on the road. The Hawkeyes posted recent easy victories over Northwestern and Penn State and will be heavily favored again on Sunday.

4. Could be an intriguing game as No. 17 Miami travels to Georgia Tech. Although the Yellow Jackets aren’t a major contender in the ACC, they’ve been tough this season, especially at home. The Hurricanes fell victim to Georgia Tech last season while they were ranked by Marcus Georges-Hunt has to get back on track after a recent slump for that to happen.

5. There is an Atlantic 10 game that will be featured on NBCSN on Sunday: Saint Louis at St. Bonaventure (2:00 p.m.).

CLICK HERE to watch these games on NBC Sports Live Extra Sunday afternoon.

Illinois State ends No. 21 Wichita State’s 12-game win streak

Fred VanVleet
AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki
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Having won 12 straight games, No. 21 Wichita State entered the weekend one of the hottest teams in the country. And with a four-game lead atop the Missouri Valley standings, clinching the regular season title was more a matter of “when” as opposed to “if.” But none of that mattered Saturday night at Illinois State, as the Redbirds managed to hand the Shockers their first conference loss by the final score of 58-53.

In addition to the 12-game win streak, which was second to Stony Brook (15 straight wins), Wichita State also saw its 19-game win streak in Valley regular season games come to an end. Illinois State was the last Valley team to beat Wichita State, eliminating the Shockers in the Arch Madness semifinals last March, and they played with the confidence of a team that believed it could win.

And after a rough first half the Redbirds found a way to come back, erasing a 16-point second half deficit in the process.

Wichita State’s issue in the second half was the fact that they couldn’t make shots. The Shockers shot just 26.7 percent from the field and 1-for-14 from three in the second half, with Fred VanVleet going scoreless and Shaq Morris scoring just one point. And just two players, Ron Baker and Conner Frankamp, managed to make multiple field goals in the game’s final 20 minutes. Illinois State certainly deserves credit for that, as they took away the quality looks Wichita State was able to find in building its lead.

And on the other end of the floor Paris Lee took control of the game during Illinois State’s comeback, scoring 13 of his 19 points in the second half with Deontae Hawkins adding 11 second-half points. Illinois State was even worse from the field, finishing the game shooting just over 27 percent from the field. But they were able to attack the Wichita State defense and get to the foul line, outscoring the Shockers 22-9 from the charity stripe. And in a game in which neither team could get much going offensively, the ability to get points from the line proved to be the difference.

This defeat doesn’t help Wichita State, but did anything really change? Maybe the margin for error when it comes to an at-large bid gets a little smaller with the loss in the eyes of some. But when considering injuries to the likes of VanVleet and Anton Grady in non-conference play, those early season losses are understandable. Saturday was a rough night for Wichita State, but given the maturity and talent on at Gregg Marshall’s disposal the Shockers will be fine moving forward.