Friday, July 29, 2005

Pronounced RYE-zhon

Kudos to Rajon Rondo for making the U.S. Under-21 national team this week.

"The first thing I saw was tremendous defensive ability," the USA coach, Phil Martelli of St. Joseph's, said yesterday. "I thought he was the best defensive guard here. Right from the very beginning."

Martelli intends to use defensive pressure, almost exclusively man-to-man pressure, as a key strategy when the team plays in the 2005 FIBA Under-21 World Championships in Mar De Plata, Argentina, on Aug. 5-14.

"He was there every time," Martelli said of Rondo's defensive intensity. "Other guys had to be reminded and reminded and reminded again and again.

"I think he can be extraordinary. No question, he can become an extraordinary on-the-ball defender. If we get (an opposing) guard kind of going off, he'll be put in a position to take that guy out. In college basketball the next two or three years, there will be few guards who can defend like him."

Nothing we didn't already know, though.


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