Former No. 1 overall player Renardo Sidney admitted his family took money while at Mississippi State on the Good ‘N Plenty Podcast.
Sidney was at one time considered a can’t-miss prospect, a likely lottery pick. However, the talented big man wound up being suspended by the NCAA for receiving improper benefits and was forced to sit his entire freshman season in college and part of his sophomore campaign.
The 6-foot-10 Sidney averaged 14.2 points and 7.6 rebounds in 19 games as a sophomore back in 2011, but his production fell to 9.7 points and 5.2 boards as a junior and Sidney wound up leaving early and going undrafted.
UCLA and USC both passed on taking Sidney out of high school, but ex-Mississippi State head coach Rick Stansbury brought Sidney, a Mississippi native, back home despite the eligibility questions.
“I was getting money,” Sidney said on the podcast. “I don’t know how much. They weren’t giving it to me. They were giving it to my mom.”
“I remember my mom used to come all the way down there (to Mississippi State) probably once a month,” he added. “I never asked her how much we were getting. I knew we were getting some money. She told me.”
Patricia Sidney denied her son’s claims and said she did not receive any money from Stansbury – who is now the head coach at Western Kentucky.
Sidney said he and his family, who moved to Los Angeles his sophomore season of high school, lived in a $1.4 million home and that his father, who lives in Las Vegas now, charged at least one agent $1,500 for a meeting before Sidney left college.
“I knew we were getting a lot of free stuff,” Sidney said. “But at the time, I couldn’t tell my dad and my mom what to do. I was 14, 15, 16 years old.”
Sidney said his father never wanted him to go to Mississippi State and had a rocky relationship with Stansbury.
“He wanted me to go overseas,” Sidney said. “But my mom cried all day long. I’m a mama’s boy, and she wanted me to go home and play in front of my family. My dad came to one game at Mississippi State. He never wanted me to go there. He didn’t see eye to eye with Stansbury.”
“I should have listened to my dad and gone overseas,” he added.
Sidney never played a game in the NBA, wound up bouncing around to a few different leagues while his weight even fluctuated to more than 400 pounds at times.
“I used to sleep in cars, and sleep on the beach,” Sidney said.
Sidney, 28, is currently living in the Los Angeles area and working out kids. He has a 2-year-old son and wants to get into coaching at the high school level.