BOZICH | The Rs have it: Riffing on Rondo, Ryan, Reds and Rankin - WDRB 41 Louisville News

BOZICH | The Rs have it: Riffing on Rondo, Ryan, Reds and Rankings

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Rajon Rondo (left) deserved more than a one-game suspension for cursing official Bill Kennedy. Rajon Rondo (left) deserved more than a one-game suspension for cursing official Bill Kennedy.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Rondo, Ryan, Reds, rankings – the Rs are definitely the place to be in sports this week.

Four quick takes on Rajon Rondo’s foul mouth, Bo Ryan’s jarring retirement, the Cincinnati Reds’ ongoing surrender and the impressive computer rankings for the Louisville basketball team.

1. RAGING RAJON

I stopped trying to understand Rajon Rondo about the time Tubby Smith benched him for Brandon Stockton during Rondo’s sophomore season at the University of Kentucky.

Sometimes a great player, starting from his arrival at Central High School. Always a baffling guy, which might explain Rick Pitino’s hesitance to recruit him.

There had to be something there for Smith to quit on Rondo for those four games late in the 2006 season. Watch this video of Rondo’s reaction after former WDRB sports reporter Steve Andress tried to ask him a question about LeBron James during an off-season interview.

Being brusque and short with media people, coaches and teammates has been part of his game plan, dating to his time at UK. He had his moments in Boston (where he also won a title). Remember that Rondo was sent home before the season ended by the Mavericks last spring.

But Rondo’s latest outburst – dropping a homophobic slur on NBA official Bill Kennedy – deserved more than a one-game suspension from commissioner Adam Silver.

I consider it a four-game offense – one game for each profanity and slur that Rondo uttered.

You can be certain that Kennedy would have earned more than a one-game hit if the official, who announced this week that he is gay, would have directed hate speech toward the player.

Rondo made it worse by whiffing in his first apology. He apparently realized that. Somebody with legitimate PR sense helped him craft a more serious response that included the word, “sorry.”

Here’s what I’m sorry about: Rondo is a guy who has worked to connect with youth in the Louisville community. His heart is often in the right place. Doug Bibby would do anything for Rondo. I'm sure Bibby knows Rondo's behavior is not a great recruiting tool for Rondo's popular summer camps.

The hope here is that Rondo learns to manage his emotions before there’s an outburst he won’t be able to take back.

2. BO RYAN APPRECIATION

There are many ways to describe the impact Bo Ryan had on Wisconsin basketball. This is my favorite:

Before Ryan arrived in Madison, Wisconsin basketball was the Big Ten’s equivalent of Georgia Tech, Oklahoma or Louisiana State. Just another program that delivered an occasional solid season.

After announcing his retirement Tuesday night, Ryan leaves as the coach who had the greatest impact on the Big Ten.

As ESPN analyst Dan Dakich said Tuesday night, Bob Knight of Indiana had the greatest coaching career in the Big Ten. Michigan State’s Tom Izzo is the best coach in the league today.

But nobody delivered a better building job than Ryan – 14 NCAA Tournament appearances in 14 seasons, including back-to-back Final Fours.

Ryan put an end to Kentucky’s unbeaten season last April in Indianapolis – and did it with a collection of three- and four-star recruits. A team with zero McDonald’s all-Americans took down a team with eight, including the first player taken in the 2016 NBA Draft.

Every coach preaches taking care of the basketball and taking good shots. Ryan showed what a program can achieve when the coach actually makes the players follow the plan.

3. REDS’ (IR)RELEVANCE

No Johnny Cueto. No Mike Leake. No Todd Frazier.

Brandon Phillips to the Nationals? Aroldis Chapman to the first team willing to overlook his off-the-field issues? Jay Bruce, anybody?

The most difficult job in Cincinnati won’t be managing the Reds in 2016. It will be selling season tickets.

It’s only Dec. 16, and there’s no doubt the Reds are waiting until 2017 or more likely 2018 to be taken seriously again.

Hard to blame them because Cincinnati is blocked by the Cubs, Cardinals and Pirates. There is no easy path to contention in the National League Central.

But with a smaller market team like the Royals winning the World Series, I can’t blame Reds’ fans for wondering if the franchise has a plan to bring winning baseball back to the Great American Ball Park.

What’s the frequency, Dick Williams and Walt Jocketty?

4. RANKING THE CARDS

Computer poll update: On Monday, I reported there were five college basketball computer polls that ranked the Cardinals Number One.

The trend is escalating. The website MasseyRatings.com has now uncovered 40 polls – and 10 rank Rick Pitino’s team first in the nation.

Overall, the Cards’ average ranking is seventh, five spots ahead of Kentucky. The Wildcats are ranked first in two polls.

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