Renardo Sidney, Gerald Robinson, Donte Williams

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


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.

Illinois’ injury woes continue as starting center needs knee surgery

George Niang,Abdel Nader,Mike Thorne, Jr.
AP Photo/Mark Wallheiser
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Illinois suffered another blow in what has already turned out to be a brutal season.

Mike Thorne is expected to miss the rest of the season after tearing his meniscus. He reportedly underwent surgery on Monday to repair the injury.

Thorne, a transfer from Charlotte, was starting at center for the Illini and doing a good job of it as well. He was averaging 13.4 points and 8.4 boards, although Illinois has started off the season 3-4.

The reason for that slow start has mainly been those injuries. Tracy Abrams is already out for the season after tearing his achilles, and the Illini training room looked like a M.A.S.H. unit. Kendrick Nunn just returned two games ago from surgery to repair a torn thumb ligament. LeRon Black is still getting back to speed after offseason knee surgery. Jaylon Tate is back after dislocating a finger. Jalen Coleman-Lands was slowed by a stress fracture.

John Groce entered this season on the hot seat, and dealing with all of these injuries certainly isn’t helping his cause.

NEW PODCAST: Recapping Feast Week

Kris Dunn
AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill
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We talk about a lot of stuff of the podcast today, mainly because a lot of stuff happened since we last spoke with you all.

For starters, we need to discuss the ‘realness’ of Syracuse and Xavier. Are they both truly top 15 teams, or do they just have top 15 resumes? We also dive into Chris Mack’s epic troll-job of Dayton at the Advocare Invitational final.

Other topics we touched on: Whether or not Scott is ever going to apologize to Wayne Selden, Wichita State’s tournament hopes, Texas A&M and whether we’d take Ben Simmons, Kris Dunn or Denzel Valentine today.

As always, you can subscribe to the podcast in iTunes right here. It’s the quickest way to get access on your cell phone or tablet.