Mississippi State's Sidney, Kansas' Selby To Debut

         Since the college season began over a month ago, we've focused on NBA Draft prospects whose stocks are rising (Kemba Walker, Terrence Jones, Derrick Williams, Demetri McCamey, etc…) and falling (Harrison Barnes, Patric Young, Elias Harris, Wally Judge etc…) and somewhere in between, but now we are taking a look at two prospects who have yet to see the court despite being ranked in the top ten of their respective recruiting classes: Josh Selby and Renardo Sidney.

        On the break of the 2010-11 season, the NCAA ruled that Kansas' Josh Selby had taken improper benefits during the high school recruiting process, forcing him to sit out the Jayhawks' first nine games repay a sum of $6,000 to a charity of his choice. His time is up and he can make his debut on the court this Saturday when Kansas takes on USC at home. As a combo-guard, there's no question that Selby has the talent to lead the Jayhawks this year, but also pave his own way into June's lottery at the Draft. But at 9-0, how will he fit into Kansas' rotation? According to Coach Bill Self, Selby has been practicing with the first team at practice and is unsure of whether to start the freshman guard or not this weekend.

        Selby is a creative mind with the ball in his hands. He is a score-first, pass-second guard, but that will only help him create more for his teammates as the defense collapses when he slashes through the lane. He'll need to improve his decision-making and show that he can adequately run the point, but most of his time, at least for now, will be spent playing off the ball with a much-improve Tyshawn Taylor at the lead guard spot. Scouts know Selby is an explosive scorer, but can he utilize his talents as a distributor and play unselfish basketball? That's what we are waiting to see.

        As long as Josh Selby's nine-game suspension felt to him, Renardo Sidney's absence is similar to that of an eternity. After more than a year of waiting, Sidney will make his debut for the Bulldogs on the same day Selby will make his. Sidney was considered one of the best big men in the country, ranking higher than DeMarcus Cousins and Derrick Favors according to some scouts. But questions about improper benefits have held him out one full season plus nine game of this current season. What is expected of the former top recruit?

        Well, for one, Sidney still weighs in close to 265-275 pounds, so expect conditioning to still be an issue as it seemingly always has. Coach Rick Stansbury believes Sidney will still be limited physically but his weight. The forward has come out recently and stated that he doesn't believe anyone can stop him in the low post. "I'm too dominant. I don't think anybody in the nation or the world can guard me in the block." For a big man who has spent too much time away from the basket, this is a good sign that Sidney is realizing his talents; he can run the floor, handle the ball and even step out and even shoot the ball with range out to the NBA 3-point line.

        With some games under his belt, if Sidney can shake off the rust and show-off his all-around game (especially in the low blocks), there's no reason why we can't see his name rise up our Big Board despite on-the-court conditioning and off-the-court personal issues. Mississippi State has the talent to not only make a run at an SEC title, but also a deep run in March with Sidney, Ravern Johnson and Dee Bost returning in just a few more games after the NCAA imposed a suspension for failing to withdraw from the NBA Draft before the deadline last spring. If Sidney can show he is a leader over the course of the remaining games, he has a shot at being a late first round pick.

By Corey Ruff - 12-15-10