Hood, Sidney Need To Become Focal Points

January 11, 2012

News, Sports

Renardo Sidney

Renardo Sidney

The Mississippi State Bulldogs are in the midst of one of their best seasons in years. The Bulldogs have many thinking they could make a deep tournament run; however, the Rick Stansbury-led team has run into trouble during their past few matchups. The Bulldogs have lost two of their last three games. The losses could be solely attributed to the Bulldogs’ inability to play against teams that play an up-tempo style of basketball.

Everyone, including the media and fans alike, are wondering why the premiere SEC West team is struggling with this playing style. Some are blaming Renardo Sidney, bad defense or Stansbury’s coaching ability. I think though, after studying the team, that the problem is offensive imbalance.

I know some are wondering, “What do you mean by that statement?” What I mean is that Mississippi State’s best offensive players — Rodney Hood and Renardo Sidney — have too small of a role, while Dee Bost and Arnett Moultrie are the focal points. The Bulldogs are struggling to get easy buckets against up-tempo teams because of this offensive dynamic.

The Bulldogs have beaten some good teams at various points this season, but I had a feeling that Sidney and Hood taking secondary roles would eventually become a problem. I think everyone must face the facts about Bost and Moultrie. They are fan favorites, but the two Bulldog stars have limitations.

Dee Bost

Dee Bost

Bost is a talented player, but he is not a point guard. The senior’s poor decision-making and inability to control the pace of games has truly hurt the Bulldogs this season. He is also averaging 2.7 turnovers a game—while only averaging 4.4 assists per game. It has just started to show up against State’s recent up-tempo opponents.

Moultrie is having a stellar season, but he has struggled lately against good defensive teams. They have been written off as bad games, but it may have more to do with his offensive limitations. The UTEP transfer is a ferocious rebounder, averaging 11.3 per game, but he can’t score consistently in the low post. The rangy forward is most effective when scoring off of put backs, alley-oops, and his teammates’ facilitations.

When everyone takes a look at Hood and Sidney they see vastly different talents.

Rodney Hood

Rodney Hood

Rodney Hood is a true “Diaper Dandy” with a NBA skill set. He has terrific ball-handling ability, a smooth jump shot, and knows how to control the tempo. Hood has shown the ability to perform in big games as well. He is averaging 12.6 points and 5.4 rebounds per game in his secondary role—very impressive.

Sidney, like Hood, has a vast skill set. He has obvious conditioning issues, which have been scrutinized. The hulking center, with all that said, is the most talented big man in the SEC — and quite possibly the country. He is unstoppable in the low post, can shoot the three, and the mercurial center excels as a passer. He is shooting 58.9 percent from the field — the highest percentage of any of the starters.

I think after taking a look at the breakdown of the four players that it’s apparent which players need to be the focal points.

The next question is how to make Hood and Sidney the focal points without shaking team chemistry. I think they could easily become the focal points if two things happen.

Arnett Moultrie

Arnett Moultrie

The first thing is that Sidney must get the ball in the post every possession… and I mean every possession. His ability to draw double teams will open up the Bulldogs’ bevy of shooters on the perimeter. Moultrie would become the clean-up guy and score off of Sidney, drawing attention of defenders. This would help the Bulldogs be more efficient on the offensive end.

The second way the Bulldogs can create better offensive flow is to make Hood the primary ball handler. Bost would settle in as a scoring point guard, but should do so without the ball in his hands most of the game. Hood would be more of a point-forward and facilitate the offense. I think this a role the forward could easily transition into, being the point guard of his high school team.

The Bulldogs would be able to control the pace of games, and this would stop teams from taking advantage of the Bulldogs by exploiting their obvious susceptibility to a fast-paced, up-tempo style of play.

I think if the Bulldogs follow this blueprint, they will be dangerous in the NCAA Tournament. If they stick with their current game plan, then another tournament exit will likely occur again this March.

What do you think the Bulldogs should do?


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One Comment on “Hood, Sidney Need To Become Focal Points”

  1. matt alexander Says:

    absolutely beast article my ffriend. you should send this to stansbury


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