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COLLEGE BASKETBALL

Renardo Sidney signs with Mississippi State

The 6-foot-10 standout from Fairfax originally had been sought after by UCLA and USC.

May 01, 2009|Lance Pugmire

Renardo Sidney, the 6-foot-10 McDonald's basketball All-American from L.A. Fairfax High, has signed a letter of intent at Mississippi State, Bulldogs Coach Rick Stansbury announced Thursday.

Sidney, considered the No. 2 power forward in the nation by Scout.com, averaged 24.8 points and 11.2 rebounds while helping Fairfax advance to the state tournament, where the Lions upset Santa Ana Mater Dei but were later defeated by state champion Westchester.

Mississippi State will be a homecoming of sorts for Sidney, who left Jackson, Miss., three years ago after that state's high school association ruled him ineligible to play for a private school there because he lived outside a mandated area.

Sidney previously announced he would sign with USC, but the Trojans recently stopped recruiting him -- just as UCLA had pulled out when he was set to give the Bruins his commitment in February.

"It's good to be coming back home," Sidney said in a statement released by the university. "A lot of my family hasn't been able to see me play the last three years and it will be good to be around them again. . . . I'm coming in to help them win a national championship and build a bond with my new teammates."

UCLA and USC haven't disclosed the reasons they retreated from Sidney, but Bracky Brett, the compliance director for Mississippi State's athletic department, said he has "a pretty clear understanding" of Sidney's academic standing and expects to address several amateurism questions with the player, his family and the NCAA in the coming weeks.

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lance.pugmire@latimes.com

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