Not only did Rajon Rondo produce his 9th career NBA Playoffs triple double on Saturday night, but he also ended the regular season with a Celtics franchise record of 24 consecutive double-figure assist games. Rondo has always been capable of scoring in spurts, but consistently puts up high numbers in assists and steals. Rondo’s time at Kentucky can be described as up-and-down, but there was no doubt he was a very special talent from the moment he stepped on campus. At Kentucky though, he also wasn’t always a prolific scorer, but I find it very interesting that even in high school Rondo set out to accomplish individual goals on the court other than scoring.
I encountered a few interesting UK-related nuggets in an article this morning from the Boston Herald. One of them describes Rondo’s effort to surpass another UK player’s single game assist record at Oak Hill Academy (none other than Cliff Hawkins). The other nugget suggests, which you can read by clicking to see the whole story here, that Tubby not only held back Rondo offensively at UK, but may have held him back on the defensive end as well. I don’t want to dwell on the topic of Tubby holding back Rondo at UK, so I’ll focus on the interesting story of when Rondo broke Cliff Hawkins’ single game assist record at Oak Hill Academy:
His second high school coach, Steve Smith of Oak Hill Academy, recently told a story of how Rondo came to set that school’s single-game assist mark.
“He wanted the assists record at Oak Hill,” said Smith. “It was 21, and it had been set by Cliff Hawkins, another guy who had gone on to Kentucky. So he comes up to me before a game and asks me what the record was. I told him it was 21, and he said, ‘OK, I’m going to get that tonight.’ He went out and had 31 assists in that game.”
How many high school All-Americans do you know of who would go out and try to set a new school assist record on a given night? Is Rondo unselfish for wanting to produce so many assists, even on his high school team? Maybe, but I don’t think his desire for assists is rooted in unselfishness, I just think he’s always been motivated to attain a variety of statistical goals other than scoring, as the Oak Hill story would suggest, which has made him such a great NBA player.
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Bill Keightley Report : Never to be forgotten.
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