EARL COX ON SPORTS

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Rajon Rondo, the University of Kentucky freshman guard from Eastern High School by way of Oak Hill Academy, probably is the quickest and fastest Wildcat since Ralph Beard, who helped Adolph Rupp’s teams to two consecutive NCAA crowns and one NIT title in the 1940s.

How quick was Beard? Harry Lancaster, Rupp’s longtime aide, told me that “Adolph always said that Ralph was so quick that you could smell the rubber burning when he took off!”

Rondo had 16 points, six steals, five assists and four rebounds in 22 minutes against Northern Kentucky last week. He made eight of nine free throws. As quick as he is, he’ll be fouled a lot and will sp/files/storyimages/much time at the free pitch line.

One more thing about the 6-foot-1 Rondo: You will be amazed at his jumping ability. He can really sky.

Beard may be Rondo’s greatest fan and biggest booster. “I saw him play in high school,” said Beard. “He has God-given quickness and moves. Only God can give you all that.”

And Beard, who has seen the Wildcats practice, added that “this is the fastest group that Tubby has ever assembled. They have innate quickness.”

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