May 8, 2009

Mississippi State signs Top 25 class

Coming into the spring signing period Mississippi State had only inked one player in three-star shooting guard Shaunessy Smith[db].

But over the last three weeks the Bulldogs added three post players to the 2009 class in five-star [db]Renardo Sidney, four-star John Riek and three-star Wendell Lewis. Those latest additions pushed MSU into having the No. 25 recruiting class in the country.

BulldogBlitz caught up with Rivals national basketball recruiting analyst Jerry Meyer just after the rankings were released on Thursday to get his thoughts on State's signing class.

Meyer feels like the signees along with the talent remaining on the roster should be enough to push the Bulldogs into one of the top teams during the 2009-10 season. But of course hinges on the return of two-time Southeastern Conference Defensive Player of the Year Jarvis Varnado.

"They have a chance to be a Top 20 team," Meyer said. "Obviously what happens with Varnado is pivotal and making sure Renardo Sidney can play and isn't ruled ineligible. If you get both of those guys and then Dee Bost and the rest of the backcourt guys like Shaunessy Smith and guys you hope to develop like Romero Osby, you have a lot of pieces there to have a top 20 team."

Sidney is the highest rated player that the Bulldogs brought in. The 6-foot-10, 250-pound power forward is rated the No. 16 player in the Rivals150. He grew up in Jackson, Miss., before moving out to Los Angeles three-years ago and was originally committed to USC.

"He's a Mississippi boy and Mississippi State has always been involved with him," Meyer said of Sidney. "Then sort of the well documented issues with the L.A. schools and his amateur status sort of drove him out of the city so to speak. Mississippi State was a great fit for him because he's got family and friends down there and had already built a relationship with the staff and had been on campus. It wasn't just like all of a sudden Mississippi State came out of nowhere. Mississippi State has been recruiting him throughout his whole career."

MSU also got Riek on the rebound from his commitment to Cincinnati. The 7-foot-2, 250-pounder originally from the Sudan was rated the No. 13 center in the nation in the 2008 class. The four-star center opted out of his pledge to the Bearcats and briefly flirted with the NBA waters before heading down to IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., to rehab his injured knee.



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