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Tubby Talks Rondo


Interesting stuff from CNNSI:

— While reporting a story in this week’s Sports Illustrated on Celtics guard Rajon Rondo, I spoke with his college coach, Tubby Smith. While they often weren’t on the same page at Kentucky, Smith said longstanding rumors of personality conflicts with Rondo have been overblown.

“I had no problem with Rajon,” said Smith, now the coach at Minnesota. “He kept himself eligible academically, and he did everything we asked him to do. “When Danny [Ainge, Celtics president] came to watch him play a couple of times when we were at Kentucky, I remember telling him, ‘You’re not going to find a better athlete.’ He’s as good athletically as there is in the NBA. He has great hands and anticipation, and he’s as competitive as anybody. He is really driven and determined to win.”

Smith said Rondo’s drive was at the heart of their differences.

“Sometimes that can be a sticking point for coaches because you want things done in a certain way,” he said. “That’s one of the things I talked to Doc [Rivers, Celtics coach] about, the confidence [Rondo] has in his ability and if you can live with that and get past that.”

Smith counseled Rondo to turn pro because he believed the NBA style would liberate him.

“In college you have a little more control,” Smith said of his half-court system at Kentucky, “and in the pros you have more freedom on that court. In the open court you can’t double-team the guy. No. 1, he’s going to beat his man — that’s a given because he can get to the rim against anybody. Now that he’s surrounded by great players, his game is elevated.”

But Rondo’s need to play in the open floor wasn’t the only issue at Kentucky.

“I used to say, ‘Rajon, you’re so good that you’ve got to make everybody better. This guy can’t handle that pass because he’s not as talented as you are,’ ” Smith said. “That’s why he’s fortunate he went to a team that has great players around him. I’m not so sure, and I hate to say this, but I’m not so sure it would have gone so well if he would have gone to a lesser team. He and I used to talk all the time about this, and I would tell him, ‘I know you can do that, but it’s going to take all five of us to beat this team.’ Sometimes he thought he could do it.”

Smith was speaking Sunday morning before a 72-45 rout of Northwestern.

“Coaches have differences with players all the time. Just now we’ve lost four out of five and I’m concerned about my point guard,” Smith said of Minnesota sophomore Al Nolen. “He reminds me a lot of Rajon. He’s got that stubbornness. It must be me. I must attract them.”

Article written by Matt Jones

16 responses to “Tubby Talks Rondo”

  1. kthblu

    Go Cats!

  2. JaredCarterIsMyHomeboy

    Rondo is sick. Only time will tell but in the future he could be the most accomplished professional athlete to ever come from UK.

  3. Vertigo

    Just imagine how sick this team would be if we had Rondo, Meeks and Patterson. Seeing Pat and Rondo on the same floor gave me chills.

  4. ibleedblueforUK

    I apologize if this has been posted already, but:,144306

    Indiana University promoted their 5’9″ team manager to play back up at guard. I know we complain about our point guard troubles but at least we arent this desperate. This is IU we’re talkin about! Man, have they hit a new low!

  5. Fastcats007

    3. rondo woulda been gone (without a medical redshirt); y’now with your boi ra smooth out like trout no doubt guards got clout, so much he can ko bogut early in tha bout.

  6. BillyClyde4President

    All I can say is thank God Rick NITino passed on Rondo and picked Telfair instead or else Rajon would have been a Filthy Cardinal.

  7. LandonSlonewillkillyou


    didnt we just say that about jodie and ppat? i woulda swore Rondo wasnt going either

  8. bleedingblue

    Just think of all the UK fans saying Rondo was a cancer who supported Smith. And all the ones bashing Smith saying that he was holding Rondo back, and proclaiming we need to push the tempo so Rondo can dominate. Looks like history is revealing the truth of what was what. Rondo could go down as one of our greastest pros and fans were way to eager to throw him under the bus and drag him back to Louisville.

  9. huffman409

    Archie *** Star recruit
    Downey ****
    Fredrick ***
    Steed ***
    Raley ***
    Holmes ***
    Muldrow ***

    Patterson ***** Star recruit
    Meeks ****
    Stevenson ****
    Liggins ****
    Miller ****
    Harrelson ***
    Stewart ***
    Harris ***

    Something is wrong.

  10. BillyClyde4President

    Why is he holding Joe Crawford’s jersey?

  11. ale8one

    #10) he presented Crawford his (Crawford’s) jersey. Senior day right?

  12. ResurrectedConcrete

    That’s BS after Rondo left,which wasn’t what Tubby wanted, Tubby said he would rather recruit 4 year players than have ones leave early. Tubby was frustrated with both Rondo and Morris. TRUTH!

  13. bleedingblue

    How in the world do you know if a player is a 4 year player 1 year 2 or three even. UNC has Hansflop, Ellington, Lawson all the best in thier class and they have stayed. If a player goes pro that means you got some production from that guy unlike a guy like Carter Mike Williams and the like. Who sit on the bench for 4 years. Patterson and Meeks both are excellant so a coach would summarize by saying I don’t want them because they are good players and might leave early but I’m going after Porter Harris Carter Stewart etc who suck but they will be here for four years and I will be fired because I just lost every game because I brought some suck ass players into the program. I Tubba sucka!

  14. E Cat

    Tubby is correct in one aspect: You look a lot better passing to Ray Allen, Paul Pierce and KG than you would Bobby Perry, Sheray and Shagari. Rondo was just in the wrong system under Tubby. The ball-line didn’t fit Rondo’s exceptional ball-hawking skills.

    But Rondo would still be a pretty good pro even if he played for the Clippers.

    Though Rondo and Tubby butted heads Rondo’s soph year, people forget Rondo was great as a frosh and had UK a rebound away from the Final Four.

  15. stammalammy

    “Damn’it Rajon, stop dribbling around your man and making layups. You need to dribble to the corner, pick up your dribble and get frustrated while everyone stands around just like I drew it up!!!!”

  16. swampbreath

    tubby said ” rajon, you cant make that pass because that guy is not as talented as you are, he cant catch it” well tubbydouche, you should have gotten off your lazy ass and recruited guys as talented as rajon was!