In the Celtics 118-112 loss tonight to the Toronto Raptors, our boy Rajon Rondo went for 29 points on 8-13 shooting, including 12-13 from the free throw line (where was that at UK?). Yes you read that boxscore correctly. Rajon, and granted it was in a preseason game, absolutely dominated the second team action and served notice on Sebastian Telfair that his time as starting point guard for the Celtics may be very limited indeed.
While I already dread the inevitable debate that will begin about whether Tubby did or did not help Rondo, blah blah blah, (and those type of comments are getting deleted from here), I am very happy for the kid. Rondo last year was simply not a good fit for the UK team. He pouted throughout the season, alienated his teammates and never seemed to possess the energy that was so refreshing his freshman year. However Tubby Smith did not seem to know how to use him either and his talents in the open floor were not often enough accenuated.
Having said that however, Rajon Rondo is a fan of the University. Marshall Moses told us on the radio show this week that Rajon had told him on myspace how great Kentucky was and why it is an amazing place to play college basketball. For all the difficulties in his relationship with Tubby, Rajon still considers Smith a trusted advisor and the two still communicate often. Rajon has done interviews where he expressed his admiration for what he learned at Kentucky and how he thinks he developed here. EVen if he believes none of those things, these actions show a grownup kid who knows how to handle situations.
Rondo is going to be a GREAT PRO. His game is more suited to the pro-style, where the lane will not be clogged and his penetration may be unstoppable. I fully admit to not being a huge fan of Rajon last year, in part because I knew some of the difficulties caused by his presence. But I think he is a fundamentally good kid and I hope he takes off in the NBA. I expect big things, and yet another Kentucky player carrying on the tradition at the next level.