VAUGHT: Rondo speaks to the press

After letting his play do his talking for four months, Kentucky freshman point guard Rajon Rondo finally got to talk about his play. Kentucky coach Tubby Smith has kept his freshmen off limits from the media all season. But after Wednesday's 73-61 win over Tennessee, Smith let Rondo and center Randolph Morris talk to the media.

After letting his play do his talking for four months, Kentucky freshman point guard Rajon Rondo finally got to talk about his play.

Kentucky coach Tubby Smith has kept his freshmen off limits from the media all season. But after Wednesday’s 73-61 win over Tennessee, Smith let Rondo and center Randolph Morris talk to the media.

Rondo had seven points on 3-for-3 shooting, six assists and two steals in 27 minutes.

“I just try to pick up the intensity and make things happen,” Rondo said. “I try to use my hands and long arms to get steals and deflections. I don’t ever get nervous. I have confidence in my teammates. I just have to play.”

Rondo said the game that changed his season was Kentucky’s 69-54 win over Vanderbilt on Jan. 12. He had 18 points in 34 minutes, both season highs. He also had four rebounds, four assists, three steals and two blocked shots.

The Cats had lost their previous game to Kansas and were also dealing with the one-week absence of freshman Joe Crawford at the time. Yet with the game on the line, Smith put the ball in the hands of his freshman and let him either drive to the basket or pass to open teammates.

“The offense was struggling a lot, so we just set the high pick at the top of the key (against Vanderbilt),” Rondo said. “From then on, whenever he wants me to create something, he has just calls a high screen at the top and I go make something happen.

“That game gave me a lot of confidence. I felt he was counting on me, so I had to show him I could step up my game. That game was a big confidence booster. It showed I could fit my game into Tubby’s role.”


LARRY VAUGHT is the one of Kentucky's most well-known sportswriters in the state of Kentucky and Sports Editor for the Danville Advocate Messenger. He has been a columnist for 28 years covering Kentucky Wildcats sports.  You can read Larry Vaught articles here on Kentucky Sports Report several times a week as well as Kentucky Sports Report - the magazine.  If you have a question or comment, ask him on the message boards.



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