T - 0:06 -- Countdown to Rondo

BIRMINGHAM, Ala -- Fast forward to April 3, 2006, the RCA Dome in Indianapolis. There are six seconds left on the clock, and Kentucky has the ball, trailing by one. Is Kentucky ready? Sure--they've already planned for it, and that means it's Rajon Rondo time.

"My favorite practice drill is one we just started," Rondo explained today at SEC Media Days in Birmingham. "Coach puts six seconds on the shot clock, and we have to go the length of the floor. It's Blue (team) against White (team), and we have to get off a good shot--not just any shot."

With Rondo, that's plenty of time--if a layup is a good shot. "I get a lot of layups in that drill," he explained.

Rondo comes into this season highly praised for his defense, but his ability to penetrate and get to the basket is also a major skill he possesses--so much so that he doesn't work on it very much in practice. "I know I can get by anybody," he said, "so I work on my outside shot in practice instead."

Although Rondo's defense has been his most notable skill, he freely admits that it wasn't always a passion with him. "At Oak Hill, I didn't like to play defense," he admitted. "But I saw Cliff Hawkins play (at Kentucky) and knew that if I wanted to play as a freshman, I'd have to play defense." The tables are turned now, though, according to Rondo. "Now, I like defense, and pride myself more on defense."

Setting a record at Kentucky for steals in a single last year, Rondo also shows great understanding for more than just steals. "It's not all about steals on defense," he explained when talking about his experience and training under Coach Tubby Smith, as well as his experience this summer playing for Team USA under Coach Phil Martelli. "Playing point guard makes you put pressure on the other guard and it causes them to turn the ball over."

In addition to being a physically talented player, Rondo credits a lot of his development to hard work and being a student of the game. "I watch DVDs of opposing teams, their players, and our practices," he said. "I watch them at home, on the airplane, and everywhere." This includes watching key players. "Oh yeah, I watch players and teams. Like Anthony Roberson last year; I watched him a lot, to see the type of plays he ran." But it's not all about the other team, either. "I watch practices, too--especially if I have had a bad practice. I want to see what Coach was yelling at me about," he chuckled.

Rondo scored 33 points in the annual Blue-White scrimmage last week, penetrating seemingly at will, and knocking down 3-5 from 3-point range. If his play in the scrimmage last week is any indication of what he'll do this season, he won't have a lot of practice footage on those DVDs.


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