After retiring this summer, Keyon Dooling has returned to the Celtic organization in a player development role. Once lauded as a positive influence in Boston's locker room and more specifically on Rondo, KD opens up about the point guard and his maturation.
Steve Bulpett has some good insight from Keyon Dooling on Rondo's development as a leader and a star in this league. It's great to see KD in his new role in the organization working in player development and even taking a few jumpers with the team at Waltham. His influence on Rondo last season is well documented and he's still molding #9 into the player we all think he will be:
"We still have to get him to reach his full potential," Dooling said. "He's getting there, but he's not all the way there yet. In this league, there's a time and a point where it all clicks, and he's on the cusp of that. We've just got to work to get him over that.
"It's just finding that balance, and he's still finding who he is as a man. He's still evolving as a person. He's had to grow up in front of the public eye somewhat.
"Things happen when you're young. I know I fought Ray (Allen) when I was Rondo's age, so I know you can be volatile when you're young."
Oh, yeah. He fought Ray Allen. That was awesome. But even with Dooling's mentorship, Rondo's been cagey with the media about his suspension:
Rajon Rondo said he did not learn any lessons from his suspension but missed his teammates and is ready to play #celtics— gary washburn (@GwashNBAGlobe) December 4, 2012
Personally, I love that Rondo isn't taking the party line with his suspension; he could easily talk about how much he's learned from the experience, how these are the growing pains of becoming a leader, and how he needs to take responsibility for his actions. Instead, he's telling everybody that he went to Mexico during his two-game absence and missed the team. I don't believe he took a vacation south of the border, but I do believe that he hated being without the team.
I've watched "the fight" a few times now and it's clear to me that Kris Humphries escalated it to a shoving match. Sure, Rondo got up in his face, but it wasn't until Mr. Kardashian grabbed on to RR's sleeves and started pulling him towards the baseline that it got heated. This isn't one of those learning experiences for Rondo. Throwing at ball at a ref and worse, chestbumping another during the playoffs: those are learning experiences. I love that Rondo went toe-to-toe after that cheap shot. Of course he shouldn't have gotten suspended, but I think the league recognized the situation and punished him accordingly. That's why Rondo didn't face a 5 or even 10 game sentence.