Rajon Rondo's Mentor Doug Bibby Speaks

The Rajon Rondo journey to where he is the main cog in the fortunes of the 2005-06 version of the University of Kentucky basketball team has jumped a few hurdles to arrive to where it is now.

One of the main reasons Rondo has reached this point in his development is the man at the wheel steering him in the right directions. That man is Doug Bibby, his former high school coach at Louisville Eastern.

Rondo had another key stop before arriving at UK last season and that stop was Oak Hill Academy playing for Steve Smith. What is the reason so many players with star potential make a stop at Oak Hill before reaching college?

Bibby said: "I had done all I could for Rajon, so I sent him to Oak Hill where he would be playing a much better schedule night after night."

A new guideline was past in the sixth and seventh regions just recently preventing a youngster from playing for Oak Hill Academy in the future. In other words the South Hopkins High School big man Albert Jackson, who committed to play at the University of Georgia, wouldn't be on his way to Oak Hill if he lived in the Louisville area. Why the new Guideline. "With Oak Hill on the schedule of some Louisville schools, the school system feels they are too attractive of a draw for the Louisville kids," Bibby explained.

"Oak Hill is not for every kid but I feel that experience was a huge benefit to Rondo," Bibby expressed. "It's like a year in college (like a freshman year in basketball). It helped him to focus on class work. He achieved a 3.0 in college last year."

All one has to do is watch Rondo play the game and one can quickly see he plays a heady game. His decisions making is for the most part precise.

Bibby said: "Rajon has always been a very smart kid. Has he always listened to everything I say? No! I had him in Human Geometry in an advanced class with sophomores and juniors and he was the smartest kid in the class. His single mom, Amber Rondo, was the driving force behind him that made it possible for me to reach him. She stepped in and said to him ‘either you listen to Doug are you don't play.'"

Bibby said he had to suspend Rondo for 12 games when he was a freshman.

Bibby said they just returned from Sacramento, California recently where they played a lot of two on two basketball with his cousin Mike Bibby and other Pro's.

"He's been working on his game," said Bibby, "and particular his shooting. He can knock down the shot. It's just as a freshman last year he knew that with (Chuck) Hayes, (Kelenna) Azubuike, and Patrick Sparks on the floor; he wasn't one of the primary options in the offense. It's all about confidence when it comes to shooting. This season, he will be the #1 and #2 option in the offense. He hasn't been home this summer because he has been taking two classes trying to get a jump on academics. Plus he has spent a lot of time working on his shot."

Rondo is among sixteen players awaiting the final cut for the USA U21 National Basketball team.

As was aforementioned, Oak Hill Academy is not for everyone and coach Steve Smith doesn't take everyone. "Oak Hill is a special situation and he didn't take Darius Washington and Kevin Garnett," Bibby said. I've talked to coach Tubby Smith already and if a pro situation were to arise after this season, I would be an integral part of the decision making."

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