Renardo Sidney, the basketball All-American from L.A. Fairfax High who had orally committed his intent to accept a scholarship offer from USC, will not play for the Trojans.
Sources close to USC’s program and the Sidney family say the school and player have ended the recruiting process.
Sidney, a 6-foot-11 power forward, visited Mississippi State last weekend and a source close to the family said the Sidneys and USC had agreed upon “a mutual parting of the ways.” The source spoke on the condition of anonymity, having not received clearance from the family to be quoted publicly about the matter.
The split was confirmed about a week after it was learned that Sidney had achieved a passing SAT score, which, when factored in with grades in 16 core classes, is how an athlete acquires eligibility. The USC coaching staff had expected Sidney to officially sign soon after.
However, the source close to the Sidney family said school officials expressed concern about signing the player while an NCAA investigation into former USC stars Reggie Bush, a Heisman Trophy winner in football, and O.J. Mayo, a first-round NBA pick last year, was still open.
Sidney’s father, Renardo Sr., “didn’t want his son to be the scapegoat for those allegations,” the source said without elaborating why that could happen. “Neither side wanted an impending investigation hanging over them.”
A source familiar with the USC athletic program not permitted to publicly discuss recruiting details confirmed that the university is no longer interested in signing Sidney but did not say why.
Attempts to reach USC basketball Coach Tim Floyd and Athletic Director Mike Garrett through the university’s sports information department were not successful.
Earlier this year, days before Sidney committed to USC at a Fairfax reception in which he opened a gift box to reveal a USC cap, UCLA stopped recruiting the player -- also for undisclosed reasons.
Asked if Mississippi State is the front-runner to sign Sidney, the source close to the family said the Bulldogs were “the only runner.” Attempts to reach the Sidney family were unsuccessful.
Longtime shoe company figure Sonny Vaccaro, who coordinated Southland player Brandon Jennings’ move to bypass a year of college in favor of a season as a professional in Europe and is helping San Diego high school player Jeremy Tyler explore a European season, said that option wasn’t open to Sidney.
“I already told him he couldn’t do it,” Vaccaro said.