Born to compete

Rondo says he's never wondered what it might have been like to play for a fast-paced, guard-oriented coach like Calipari.

It was obvious Rajon Rondo was not happy when he was the first player to leave the court after Monday's exhibition game at Rupp Arena.

Rondo's team, the Big Blue All-Stars, lost 152-149 in overtime to the Villains in a game that was supposed to be entertaining for fans and fun for players.

But that didn't mean Rondo, a starting guard now with the Boston Celtics, didn't want to win. "I don't like to lose. I missed a free throw, so I was pretty pi.... off a little bit," said the former Kentucky point guard. "I compete to win and I don't like to lose. I never like to lose, even a game like this."

That competitive streak dominated Rondo's memory of his two-year UK career under then coach Tubby Smith.

"We didn't lose a lot when I was here. Packed house every night. Dedicated fans supporting you every night," Rondo said.

He's been in Lexington much more this offseason due to the?NBA lockout and had already played in several all-star games across the state.

"This has been my best summer here in Kentucky with all the love from fan appreciation of what I did when I was here. Great fan support. I really appreciate still getting that support," Rondo said.

Kentucky's current players have benefitted from his presence, too. Freshman point guard Marquis Teague noted that Rondo gave him several pointers during pickup games and went out of his way to help him.

"I like Teague. They are a good group of kids. I expect them to win it (the NCAA championship) honestly. If they listen to Cal and believe in each other, they should win it without a doubt," Rondo said.

He said it was no "big deal" for him to share his experience with Teague, who has a brother, Jeff, playing in the NBA.

"I?am in a good place in my life. I just try to help others. Obviously, he will be there (in the NBA) in a couple of years playing against me. If I can help him learn a little bit about the game and he is willing to listen, I don't mind at all," Rondo said.

"I?had a couple of mentors I looked up to and was able to talk to about what I was going through when I was young. That is not what I?am doing for those guys. When I?am around, I am showing them positive things to do and how to handle themselves as young men because I have been through what they are going through. "They all want to be in the league and want to win and be the man, but there are certain steps you have to take. They are all very young. Just be patient. I try to tell them not to be in a rush to grow up and get this life so fast." Kentucky coach John Calipari has produced four straight point guards picked in the first round of the NBA draft. Rondo says he's never wondered what it might have been like to play for a fast-paced, guard-oriented coach like Calipari. "You can't go back in the past, but I was up top looking at practice and Cal is a motivating coach. He encourages his guys," Rondo said.

"He gives you all the confidence in the world. I?heard him say some things out there that I was shocked a coach would say, but he said them. He tells you exactly how he feels and will always be honest with you. Not many coaches are always like that. That's what makes him good. You want to be with a coach like that."


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