Rajon Rondo had class with Rob Dillingham, tells his AAU team to learn from Reed Sheppard

On3 imageby:Jack Pilgrim04/02/24

Life is different for Rajon Rondo nowadays. A two-time world champion and four-time NBA All-Star, the former Kentucky standout is now back in Lexington getting his degree and hanging around the basketball facilities while leading his own AAU team, Rondo Elite. Rather than racking up accolades as a pro, he’s in class and spending time with his three kids.

As he transitions to his post-playing days, Rondo peeled back the curtain on the fascinating dynamic of returning to Kentucky and going to school with teenagers who will soon be following in his footsteps to the NBA, serving as a mentor to the next generation of basketball talent.

“Funny thing, before my child was born, my baby girl, six months ago I had class with (Rob) Dillingham and I think (Aaron) Bradshaw,” Rondo said on All The Smoke with Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson. “Of course, me and Rob kind of clicked right away. First day walking into school, we kind of looked up and I was like, ‘Man, I’ve been looking for you!’ Obviously, he wanted to holler at me, as well.”

He hangs out with assistant coach John Welch, who he knows from his playing days with the Sacramento Kings, while watching him work players out inside the Joe Craft Center. Rondo promised to be a ‘listening ear for these young guys’ going into the year and followed through on his promise.

And he enjoyed the ride just as much as the rest of us.

“One of my good friends John Welch, he’s an assistant coach at Kentucky. I was in Sacramento with John and I go to his office from time to time, sit down and talk, watch the game, watch him work out Reed (Sheppard), Dillingham every once in a while,” Rondo added. “It’s been great having those guys around, seeing their stardom grow and the way they play the game. I’ve actually taken a couple of my AAU teams to see Kentucky play.”

Rondo has a favorite, and it may not be who you expect. Sure, he’s close with Dillingham and loves what he brings to the table, but if his players want to become the best versions of themselves, he tells them to watch none other than Reed Sheppard.

“I always tell them to watch Reed. Everybody loves Rob and wants to be Rob because Rob, he has moves. I tell them to watch Rob, obviously, for the one-on-one game, but I’m like, ‘Watch how Reed controls the game,'” Rondo said. “He knows the game. He’s always in the right spot. He’s not the most athletic, he’s not the fastest, but his IQ — he’s able to manipulate the game. Now some people are saying he’s the No. 1 pick in the game.

“That’s all IQ and the way he shoots the basketball. I’ve seen him work. They have some stuff down there at Kentucky.”

Reed Sheppard: your favorite point guard’s favorite point guard.

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