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Door swings out, Rondo & Williams depart

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Immediately following the Wildcats' loss to UCONN in the second round of the NCAA tournament, head coach Tubby Smith used the postgame press conference to state unequivacably that changes were going to be made, or people were going to adjust. The burden of the Cats' frustrating season having now passed, it seems that Tubby's statement was genuine.

Following the Tuesday official announcement from UK sophomore Rajon Rondo would take the plunge for real on Tuesday, announcing his intentions to not only declare for the NBA draft, but to hire and agent (if he hasn't already) and forfeit his two remaining years of eligibility, Kentucky freshman Adam Williams confirmed today -- or rather his father did -- that he will be requesting his release from a scholarship and will transfer.

With coach Tubby Smith at his side, Rondo made clear that her understands his deficiencies, but that he also has solid information that his stock is relatively stable and high.

Smith, for his part, was gracious and a little revealing as he pre-sold his now former point guard:

"At the next level that style of play will create more opportunities," Smith said. "The two-man game you can play, the rules are more conducive to Rajon's assets as a player ? his speed, his athleticism, his vision, taking people off the dribble, guarding people. They are drafting him because he can run and lead a team. The intangibles you have to have. He's a very intelligent player. He can see things on the court. That's what I think he can bring to the next level because the others are obvious.
While a strong endorsement, the statement holds a telling frankness that perhaps Rondo and Smith were acknowledged as being at odds about Rondo's role and his strengths. The Louisville native looked frustrated at times with Smith's offensive sets (or lack thereof).

Rondo led Kentucky in rebounding (6.1) and assists (4.9) this season, and added 69 steals and 11.2 points a contest. Rondo has rare athleticism and defensive intuition. Whether the NBA will think so remains to be seen.

Rondo picked an interesting day to jump, as the conference rival Florida Gators hoist the national championship trophy with a team built after three stars and 40% of their offense departed for the NBA.

I'm sure Ramel Bradley is monitoring the situation closely, and one wonders whether we've seen the last of Rondo in UK blue ... and whether that's such a bad thing.

Williams' statement was more succinct, and came attached with the expected pleasantries all around. Tex Williams, Adam's dad, called the situation "win-win," and while I'm inclined to agree, it's never a good day when you lose a Wildcat.

Much less two.