- Rajon Rondo
- Hometown (Last School)
- Louisville, KY (Eastern)
- 2004-05, 2005-06
- February 22, 1986
Rajon Rondo was born Rajon Pierre Rondo on February 22, 1986, in Louisville, Kentucky to Amber Rondo. He has three siblings: Dymon, William, and Anton. He had little contact with his father, who left his family when he was seven years old. To support the family, his mother worked the third shift at Philip Morris USA, a tobacco company.
Rondo was first interested in football before his mother steered him towards basketball because she felt that the sport would be less punishing on his skinny frame. After Rondo became serious about basketball, he attended Louisville’s Eastern High School for three years where he played under head coach Doug Bibby. During his junior year, he averaged 27.9 points, 10.0 rebounds, and 7.5 assists. Rondo had 44 points and 13 rebounds in a loss to Wayne County in the Fifth Third Holiday Classic; 47 points and 10 rebounds in a win over Pleasure Ridge Park in the Louisville Invitational Tournament; and 44 points and 22 rebounds when Eastern snapped PRP’s 101-game homecourt winning streak. He also earned All-State honors and was named the 7th Region Player of the Year. He transferred to Virginia’s Oak Hill Academy for his senior year where he averaged 21.0 points per game, 3.0 rebounds per game, and 12.0 assists per game and finished the 2003-04 season with a 38-0 record. In his senior year at Oak Hill Academy, Rondo broke Jeff McInnis’s single-season school record of 303 assists, while averaging a double-double. There, he included two efforts of 27 assists and a single-game school record of 31, merely four away from the all-time national record. He also had a 55-point game in high school, second highest all-time in Oak Hill Academy, surpassed only by Calvin Duncan with 61. Rondo was named to the McDonald’s All-American Team in 2004 and scored a total of 14 points, 4 assists, and 4 rebounds in the all-star game. He also participated in the 2004 Jordan Capital Classic game, logging 12 points, 5 assists, and 4 steals. He ended his career as Oak Hill Academy’s all-time assists leader in a single season with 494 assists, surpassing Jeff McInnis.
Rondo committed to the University of Kentucky over his hometown the University of Louisville, who spurned Rondo in favor of the higher-rated Sebastian Telfair. Rondo, along with All-Americans Joe Crawford and Randolph Morris, gave Kentucky the top-rated recruiting class for 2004 according to Rivals.com.
Rondo led Kentucky to several wins including clutch-shot victories against the University of Louisville, South Carolina, and Central Florida, but Kentucky failed to advance to the Final Four of the NCAA Tournament in either Rondo’s freshman or sophomore seasons. He was named to the SEC All-Freshmen Team. He set a Kentucky Wildcats record for most steals in a single season, with a total of 87 steals in his freshman year, and made at least one steal in every game. He finished his freshman year at Kentucky averaging 8.1 points, 2.9 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and 2.6 steals.
In his sophomore year he had a career-high 12 assists against Ole Miss, despite playing just 23 minutes, and 25 points against Louisville. Rondo also set another Kentucky Wildcats record for most rebounds in a game by a guard, with 19 rebounds in an early season loss to Iowa. He was not known for being a shooter, however, going 18-66 from three with a 57.1% FT average. He averaged 11.2 points, 6.1 rebounds, 4.9 assists, and 2.1 steals per game in his sophomore year. Rondo was also named to the 2005 USA Men’s Under-21 World Championship Team, which traveled to Argentina for the FIBA World Championships. He averaged 11.0 ppg and 4.5 apg in the eight-game tournament, garnering much attention from NBA scouts. The USA U-21 team won a gold medal at the Global Games held in Texas in late July.
Following the 2005–06 NCAA season, Rondo announced he would forgo his final two seasons at Kentucky and enter the NBA draft. Rondo was drafted 21st overall by the Phoenix Suns in the 2006 NBA Draft. Phoenix then traded him to the Boston Celtics along with Brian Grant for the Cleveland Cavaliers’ first-round draft pick in the 2007 NBA Draft and cash considerations. He was the first point guard to be chosen in the draft. In another draft-day deal, the Celtics acquired Sebastian Telfair from the Portland Trail Blazers, finally uniting the backcourt Pitino had envisioned at Louisville. He was signed by the Boston Celtics on July 4, 2006.