Why didn't Renardo Sidney accompany Mississippi State on its tour of Europe earlier this month?
The understanding had been that Sidney made the decision himself to go to Houston to train with John Lucas in preparation for the coming season rather than spend the time with his team.
But today, in a series of confusing statements, Bulldogs coach Rick Stansbury insisted to reporters that it was his own decision to send the 6-foot-10, 280-pound forward to Houston rather than have him travel to Europe.
From The Clarion-Ledger:
"Let's make sure to get this clear: it was not his decision to go to Houston," Stansbury said. "Everybody understand that. I made that decision, nobody else made that decision. I made the decision, OK? That's where that is and, again, would I have liked for him to have been on the trip? I would have and it would have been good, but there are some things he had to handle that he hadn't handled. Since then, he has."
"He fulfilled some obligations he had to have for the team," Stansbury said today. "And he did that. So, we'll see if he keeps progressing. We all want to hope and believe he can."
Asked if the trip to Houston was punishment, Stansbury responded hastily. "'Fulfill obligations' is not punishment," he said. "That could be opportunities."
Whatever obligations Sidney had previously failed to fulfill, they were apparently important enough to Stansbury that he now claims them as reasons for preventing the junior from going on the European trip.
While that could be considered to be a suspension, Stansbury won't use that term. The big man has already been suspended twice in his career -- by the NCAA for accepting impermissible benefits in high school and also by the team last season for fighting with a teammate in the stands.
Confusion over who made the decision to have Sidney go to Houston hasn't helped Sidney's image. If it were his own decision, then it might have been short-sighted. If it were Stansbury's, then what did Sidney do or not do to warrant a trip to Texas instead of Europe?
The ongoing drama continues, and it has to be unsettling for MSU fans hoping that riding it out with Sidney will result in an NCAA tournament bid rather than more distractions.
Maybe Sidney did pick up something from Houston, though, that will serve all parties well.
"We're teaching him to be much more professional," Lucas told Andy Katz in July.