Sidelines with John Clay

Rajon Rondo signing fuels critics, and more Big Blue Links

Former Kentucky guard Rajon Rondo, shown here last year with the Sacramento Kings, has signed a two-year deal with the Chicago Bulls.
Former Kentucky guard Rajon Rondo, shown here last year with the Sacramento Kings, has signed a two-year deal with the Chicago Bulls. Associated Press

Big Blue Links for July 4th:

The Bulls made a mistake signing Rajon Rondo, says Stephen Noh of The Athletic. “But he has serious attitude problems and is 30 years old. He’s not going to be around by the time the Bulls reopen their championship window and best-case scenario, he will get them a first-round playoff exit followed by a poor draft pick. Worst-case scenario, he will become impossible to work with and make a tough season unbearable. How will Jimmy Butler handle having this veteran, ball-dominant point guard in his backcourt? At least Derrick Rose is a nice guy.”

Another writer thinks the same of Rondo signing. Brian Marquez of Forbes says, “Signing the 30-year-old Rondo to a deal makes the team even older and less athletic. He’s also going to take playing time away from Grant, who is the only player the Bulls acquired from the Knicks in the Rose deal who has any upside. Taking Grant off the court almost completely removes the chances of finding some value in a deal that is otherwise a straight dump of a former MVP and hometown hero.”

Boom Williams makes list of most explosive players in SEC. Mike Huguenin of Gridiron Now reports, “Hey, the guy is nicknamed “Boom,” which should tell you something. He led the SEC by averaging 7.1 yards per carry, which was sixth nationally among players with at least 100 carries. He had 14 carries of at least 20 yards, six of at least 30, four of at least 50 and three of at least 60. Maybe the revamped UK offensive coaching staff will get him more than 12 carries a game this season.”

Aaron Harrison finds shooting touch in second half of Summer League game. Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer reports, “It took a while, but Charlotte Hornets guard Aaron Harrison found his shooting touch at Orlando Summer League. Particularly off a strong third quarter, Harrison finished with 15 points, five rebounds and six assists in the Hornets’ 80-70 victory over the Indiana Pacers. Harrison, the only Charlotte player from last season’s roster at summer league, struggled in Saturday’s loss to a Magic split squad, and then again in the first half Sunday when he shot 1-of-8. But he bounced back to finish 6-of-16 from the field.”

More Summer League updates. Rick Bozich of WDRB has the rundown. “Wayne Blackshear, Charlotte – Keep an eye on the former U of L McDonald’s all-American. After not playing Saturday, Blackshear earned more than 15 minutes Sunday and took advantage of his time to score six points and grab eight boards. He also made one of his two shots from distance. Blackshear played in Italy last season for Giorgio Tesi. He averaged 11.2 points per game, but made only 24 percent of his three-point field goal attempts. He was the team’s fourth leading scorer, behind Alex Kirk, Preston Knowles and Olek Czyz. He’s still a longshot to get to the NBA next season, but Blackshear should make it to training camp.”

U.S. Basketball still dominant after another world title, says Mike DeCourcy of Sporting News. “If there’s a problem with how the United States develops its basketball players, where does that leave the rest of the world? The United States junior national team won the FIBA U-17 World Championship on Sunday evening, blasting Turkey by a 96-56 margin that represented the Americans’ seventh-consecutive double-figure victory.”

Ten years later, remembering the U.S.’ lone loss under Coach K. Brian Mahoney of AP writes, “Ten years later, Carmelo Anthony still remembers where he stood. He points to a spot between the 3-point arc and the sideline, recalling the position from where he watched a celebration some teammates couldn’t bear to face. ‘Everybody was walking off the floor. There was confetti, things on the court,’ Anthony said. ‘Everybody was celebrating and I stayed, I stayed right there on the court. I just wanted to see it and kind of feel it.’”

Anna Hack looks to represent UK and Paducah at U.S. Women’s Open. Reports Anthony Crawford of the Herald-Leader, “Throughout high school I had goals that I wanted to do, like playing college golf, and I wanted to play in the U.S. Girls’ Championship, which is the junior of the U.S. Open,” Hack said. “And so then after I met all my goals in high school, I just came to college and started working and decided that I wanted to try to qualify for some pro stuff.”

Auburn and Alabama trying to flip quarterback committed to Louisville. Drew Champion of reports, “Malik Cunningham describes his commitment to Louisville as solid, but the Park Crossing quarterback is still hearing from other schools. Memphis likes him as a quarterback, which the 6-foot-1, 185-pound three-star recruit wants to play. He’s also worked out for Alabama as a defensive back.”

Georgia linebacker commits to Louisville. Steve Jones of the C-J reports, “The University of Louisville football team landed a recruiting commitment Sunday night from three-star linebacker Kam Jones of Peachtree Ridge High School in Suwanee, Georgia. The 6-foot-1, 220-pound Jones, who is U of L’s 10th commitment in the 2017 class, is rated the nation’s No. 24 inside linebacker by He’s considered the No. 54 weakside defensive end nationally by”

Stephen Colbert and Kentucky’s own Sturgill Simpson visit a Waffle House.

Will Bengals make playoffs in 2016? Richard Skinner of WKRC writes, “The Bengals return almost their entire roster from the 2015 season that saw them earn a playoff berth for the fifth straight season, but senior handicapping analyst Larry Hartstein says he’s betting against them making it six straight playoff appearances. Hartstein, who is also’s gambling writer, used odds from CG Technology sportsbooks on what it would cost and/or return for a “yes” or “no” bet on whether or not a team will make the playoffs in 2016.”

Ex-WKU star Courtney Lee signs with the Knicks. The New York Post reports, “So much for Dwyane Wade. Phil Jackson has found his shooting guard — and nailed down his starting five — in landing 30-year-old veteran Courtney Lee. He is a less-splashy name than Wade, but fit exactly what the Knicks’ president sought. And credit Joakim Noah for his first assist.”

Steve Spurrier says let the kids play. Kevin Connell of Gridiron Now reports, “While speaking at a news conference Saturday ahead of his induction into the 2016 National Federation of State High School Associations Hall of Fame class in Reno, Nevada, Spurrier encouraged prep athletes to avoid the growing trend of specializing in one sport. ‘Not once did any of (my) three coaches say, ‘Steve, you ought to stick with baseball. You ought to stick with basketball,’ Spurrier said. ‘They let us play all their sports, and I wish the high schools would do that now. Let the kids play.’”

Penn State can’t get by on $36 million profit, says David Jones of Penn Live. “So, there it is. If you’re not of the income to afford passes to the real season – and that’s all of the real season – we don’t really want you, even at the spring scrimmage. The last vestige of charity has evaporated from a business that stands to reap a $60-70 million annual windfall once the Big Ten’s pending new media rights deal kicks in. It just can’t make ends meet without charging $20 for parking at an intrasquad scrimmage.”

Pat Summitt’s last great gift was sharing her fight with Alzheimer’s. Writes Sally Jenkins of the Washington Post, “Pat Summitt is not gone. She’s free. The balloons were orange for Tennessee and purple for Alzheimer’s, and everyone who loved Pat held one by a ribbon while a lone bagpiper played. At first they were supposed to be released by her family, but then Pat’s niece Casey started handing them all around, saying, “Everybody is family,” which was so right and so true to Pat. The balloons rose together in a cluster fast into the cloudless air, faster than the hurt breath escaped your throat. Finally you had to shade your eyes against the sun to see them. A lone orange one started drifting sideways on its own, an outlier.”

Questions Kentucky basketball fans want answered before 2016-17 season, from Bleacher Report. “We know there will be a lot of talent in Lexington during the 2016-17 season. According to 247Sports, the Wildcats are adding five 5-star recruits to a team that already returns a handful of solid players who have proved themselves at the college level. Still, losing six of the eight players who averaged at least 10 minutes per game last season means we don’t know exactly what the team will look like going forward. It remains to be seen how the lineups and rotations will play out or which players will improve from the last time we saw them.”

Lindy’s College Football Pre-Season Top 25

  • 1. Alabama
  • 2. Clemson
  • 3. Oklahoma
  • 4. Ohio State
  • 5. Baylor
  • 6. Tennessee
  • 7. Michigan
  • 8. Florida State
  • 9. LSU
  • 10. Stanford
  • 11. Notre Dame
  • 12. Houston
  • 13. Ole Miss
  • 14. Louisville
  • 15. Iowa
  • 16. Oklahoma State
  • 17. USC
  • 18. Georgia
  • 19. San Diego State
  • 20. TCU
  • 21. Washington
  • 22. Michigan State
  • 23. UCLA
  • 24. Oregon
  • 25. North Carolina
Related stories from Lexington Herald Leader