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Rondo deserves more respect

I am consistently amazed at the level to which Kentucky's sophomore point guard Rajon Rondo is hammered by a small but vocal segment of the UK fanbase.

Some part of me truly wonders if it's the sort of schadenfreude that people have for celebrities or anyone who "thinks they're better than me."

Rondo is better than you ... at basketball. he's a prodigy, and like a prodigy he gets more hype than a lot of other players of perhaps better short-term success and lesser raw talent.

Meanwhile, he's still adapting to being the point man, not the off-ball man as he was last year. UK fans are among the most knowledgeable in college, but they have a tough time grasping that which is closest to them, it seems.

Take today's slow-starting but ultimately crucial 71-57 win over Ole Miss in the SEC tournament opening round.  Rondo had no field goals in the first half and missed a few free throws. Suddenly, message board UK fans began gutting the kid, taunting him for his supposed NBA value and getting nasty about it in the process.

What did Rondo end up doing for the Cats?

Despite a poor shooting game -- just 2-for-9 -- the Louisville native scored 7 second-half points, snagged 6 rebounds to lead the Cats and handed out 7 assists to boot.

And where were the apologies? Nowhere to be found, of course.

UK fans are notorious for eating their young (players), but they will regret if they scare this kid off with their nasty attitudes. He is immensely talented and raw, with massive potential that draws NBA attention. Wishing him gome or ill because he isn't averaging  a triple-double is immature and short-sighted.

Just root the kid on, and hopefully he'll reach that vast potential in a UK uniform and not a Golden State one.