There are not that many top recruits left uncommitted for the 2009 class. Renardo Sidney, a 6-foot-11 McDonald's All-American center had a quiet understated affair where he revealed his decision. More than 100 friends and family gathered for a ceremony, replete with media in attendance. All to see Sidney reveal the decision everyone already knew. Not that they did not try to create drama that it was still between USC and UCLA.
...the 19-year-old Sidney walked to the podium and waited until a young woman brought out a gold box with blue and red ribbons.
Sidney struggled to open the box with his hands, so a knife from one of the tables was given to him. He still was having trouble, so scissors were found as the woman aided him. The box revealed a smaller box, and this time, what he found after getting through the blue and red wrapping paper was a USC hat.
"It was very close," Sidney said of his college decision. "It was a nail-biter."
Except that UCLA dropped out of competition for his services a few days prior.
UCLA stopped recruiting Sidney, not out of concern that Sidney would be another one-and-done player (he will). It was because the UCLA administration became concerned that he would not be able to qualify. Sidney, coming into his senior year, did not have a high enough grade point average and had not even taken any standardized tests.
At this point, he is still working on bringing up his grade point average and has yet to actually take the SAT. USC and coach Tim Floyd are willing to take this chance -- even if Sidney has as many warning signs as O.J. Mayo with people eager to associate with him and waiting for him to get paid.
Some are skeptical that Sidney will ever suit up for USC, and that Sidney will instead have to take the Brandon Jennings approach. That his test scores and grades will keep him from qualifying, and force him to head to Europe for a year.
The Trojans appear willing to take that risk. USC has nothing to lose. They want to compete with UCLA in basketball, so they need the talent. DeMar DeRozan is certain to go pro, and who can be sure if Taj Gibson and Daniel Hackett will stay for their senior years.