In a move that should surprise absolutely no one, Rajon Rondo declared today his intention to leave the University of Kentucky, hire an Agent and never come back. This has been in the works since last off-season, when Rondo had his great run with Team USA and was told by everyone and his brother that he would be a top 10 pick. Never a huge fan of the Kentucky offensive structure, Rajon was always looking for the first opportunity to leave and this may have been it. His stock has dipped slightly during this year, but I expect him to absolutely dazzle at the summer camps and be a late lottery pick.
So what does this mean for the Cats? Well in the immediate future, it makes the team chemistry instantly better. Rajon was a source of much consternation on the team, some fair, some not. He was widely seen as being aloof and considered himself of a much different caliber as the rest of the team. This caused a number of issues that led to many issues, both on and off the court. For Rondo’s part, he was frustrated with the losing and the inability of his teammates to keep up, but most of his ire was misplaced and handled poorly, at least in my opinion.
Assuming, as I do, that Ramel Bradley will be back next season, I expect him to be in the point guard slot. Expect more inconsistency, but also more scoring from the true team leader of this Wildcat team. Joe Crawford, who is more emotionally fragile than any of his teammates, is Ramel’s best friend and having the two them on the court together, consistently, will only help his play.
Part of me is sad to see Rondo go. He was a dynamite player and had athletic ability unlike any player at Kentucky during the Smith era. His defensive hands, rebounding prowess and amazing leaping ability were a joy to behold. But I believe this decision is best for all parties. If Rondo is a lottery pick, he needs to leave as I cannot see his stock rising any further. And for their part, I do think Kentucky will emerge from this as a better and more cohesive team.