VAUGHT: Rondo may be future high NBA pick

Kentucky has not had a top 15 draft pick since 1997, a span that would seem almost impossible to believe at first glance. However, college basketball analyst Larry Conley says that's really not as hard to understand as it might seem at first.

"Look at Tayshaun Prince. He didn't go in the top 15 and he had to battle to make Detroit, but look at how he has played," Conley said. "You make decisions about who you recruit, or don't recuit, based on how players fit your system. Then some guys develop better than you think. Other guys don't develop as well. Every year you see players that were not that highly recruited who turned into high draft picks.

"Recruiting is so much harder than it used to be. Then you also have to wonder about how some of the draft picks are made. So no, it doesn't really say much to me that Kentucky has gone that long without a draft pick that high."

Conley doesn't know where UK sophomore point guard Rajon Rondo will eventually be drafted. But he knows he has enormous talent and once he becomes a consistent outside shooter, he'll be an even more special player.

"He has to work on his shooting. I am not convinced he's a really solid night after night shooter yet. But he can make himself a better shooter, and probably will," Conley said. "He has the fundamentals. He certainly has the ballhandling, passing and defensive skills. He has everything you need except a consistent outside shot.

"With the way he can pass and handle the ball, if he can become a consistent shooter, then all of a sudden Kentucky is really a strong threat to have a big year."

What if Rondo doesn't have a consistent 3-point shot? Can Kentucky still win?

"They have plenty of guards that can shoot. Sparks might be streaky, but he can flat-out shoot. Crawford can shoot and he could have a huge year. Then there is Bradley. And Moss has hit a lot of big shots. They are not hurting from a shooting standpoint. It's just that they are that much better if Rondo is able to make those same shots, too."

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