Friday FT's: Rondo Makes a Call; Shaq Ranks Himself

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Friday FT's: Rondo Makes a Call; Shaq Ranks Himself

Welcome back to Friday Free Throws, a weekly recap of the most interesting news, notes, and information that have not made the headlines but are still worth a read. In spite of the NBA lockout, there's still plenty of hoops to talk about.

Rajon Rondo is used to making calls for the Boston Celtics. During the lockout, he is making calls of a different kind.

Rondo has been spending time at his alma mater, the University of Kentucky, and watching the mens basketball team closely. He recently called head coach John Calipari and asked if he could offer his input, WDRB.com reported:

I got an interesting call from Rondo after the game, who says, 'Do you mind if I call the kids? I took some notes about the game.' I'm like absolutely. Call them and tell them what you think. John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins and Patrick Patterson were at the game, and then they want to be there and be a part of it. It shows we're a family. This is what we're trying to build here."

On the topic of Rondo, let's revisit his series of videos for Foot Lockers Educators campaign. Monday's lesson was on the "Drama of Quickness." Rondo, er, "Mr. Rondo," explained, "To be in a Rondo production, you've got to stick to the script or be quick. If you can't do that, play golf, or chess, or taking a computer programming class or something." Point taken.

Shaq Doesnt Think THAT Highly of Himself

Shaquille O'Neal recently ranked his top five NBA centers on SportsCenter, and who he slated fifth was far more surprising than who he put first. Bleacher Report has the rundown, where Shaq ranked himself number five, followed by Hakeem Olajuwon, Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, and Bill Russell.

In spite of ranking Abdul-Jabbar second, O'Neal expressed displeasure with him in his book, Shaq Uncut: My Story. The Los Angeles Times posted the excerpt: Kareem was never around. And, whenever I did see him, he usually ignored me. The disappointing thing to me was, being in LA all those years and trying to fill those shoes, I would have liked to have a conversation with him."

Like Father, Like Son

Before we get to former Celtic Sam Cassell in birthdays of the week below, lets start with a few notes on him and his son who is following in his fathers footsteps.

Cassell was recently inducted into the Maryland state Athletic Hall of Fame. "To go into any Hall of Fame is great," he said, wrote PressBoxOnline.com. Cassell said. "To go in with the men and women here tonight is beyond belief. Vince Bagli, I grew up watching Vince Bagli, and Sean Landeta. I grew up watching Sean win Super Bowls for the Giants."

While Cassell reflected on his career, his son is looking to start his own. Sam Cassell, Jr. The 6-foot-4 guard is ranked as one of Baltimore's top guards, according to the Baltimore Sun -- "The Nike Baltimore Elite prospect will likely end up at a high-major or mid-major-plus program."

Celtics Tweet of the Week

@CharleeRedz13: I ain't got no health insurance at the moment....nor do my ....13depemdents....kids get sick around this time of year....

Celtics Birthdays of the Week

Kevin Gamble turned 46 on November 13. Gamble played six seasons for the Celtics during the late 1980searly 1990s . . . David Wesley turned 41 the following day. He played three seasons for the Cs, including 1996-97 in which he averaged 16.8 points and 7.3 assists per game . . . Sasha Pavlovic celebrated his 28th birthday on November 15. Pavlovic played 17 games for the Celtics last season after signing as a free agent in March 2011 . . . Two-time NBA champion and seven-time All-Star Jo Jo White turned 65 on November 16. White is still involved with the Celtics organization as the Director of Special Projects . . . Sam Cassell turned 42 on November 18. Cassell signed with the Celtics during the 2007-08 season and lent his veteran experience to their championship run.

This Week in Celtics History

On November 18, 1969, the Celtics traded Bob Cousy to the Cincinnati Royals in exchange for Bill Dinwiddie. Cousy played 13 seasons for the Cs and won six world championships in Boston. Dinwiddie played one season for the Celtics before being traded to the Milwaukee Bucks in 1971.

Report: Rajon Rondo preparing to attempt to play in Game 5

Report: Rajon Rondo preparing to attempt to play in Game 5

Chicago Bulls guard Rajon Rondo is putting in the work in an attempt to play in Game 5 Wednesday, according to The Vertical's Shams Charania.

Rondo, who fractured his right thumb and wore a forearm cast during Game 4, was spotted at practice Tuesday dribbling and shooting in a much smaller thumb splint. There's a chance he'll play against his former team in the Boston Celtics. Here's what The Vertical wrote on Rondo.

Around Rondo and the Bulls, there’s belief that the four-time All-Star has a chance to return but a final determination has not been made, league sources said.

The guard originally received a two-week timetable from doctors on April 21. However, he has a history of making improbable returns from injuries. In 2011, he played through a dislocated elbow. In 2013, he played a few minutes after tearing his ACL.

The 31-year-old point guard averaged 7.8 points, 6.7 assists and 5.1 rebounds in 69 games this season. In two games this postseason, he has averaged 11.5 points, 8.5 rebounds, 10 assists and has shot 42.3 percent from the field.

And the Bulls, who are tied with the Celtics 2-2 in the series after jumping out to a 2-0 lead, are desperate for his return. They've cycled players like Michael Carter-William, Jerian Grant and Isaiah Canaan in and out of Rondo's role in the Bulls starting lineup.

Isaiah Thomas on Fred Hoiberg's complaints: 'I don’t carry the ball'

Isaiah Thomas on Fred Hoiberg's complaints: 'I don’t carry the ball'

WALTHAM, Mass. – Following Boston’s Game 4 win at Chicago on Sunday, Isaiah Thomas was asked about Bulls head coach Fred Hoiberg’s comments that he carried the ball.

The question drew instant laughter from Thomas’ two sons who sat next to him on the podium. 

“It’s not that funny,” Thomas told them which drew a chuckle or two from the assembled media members on hand. 

Thomas is right, especially if Hoiberg’s complaints result in officials looking closer at Thomas’ ball-handling and do in fact take Hoiberg’s comments to heart as Boston and Chicago gear up for a pivotal Game 5 matchup. 

“I only know one way how to dribble,” Thomas said following Boston’s practice on Thursday. “I’ve been dribbling the same way my whole life. Maybe it was strategic or something. I don’t think they’ll call it on me.”

Thomas said he was watching NBA TV recently where he saw that he had been called for carrying two times this season. 

And just to get a sense of how often the ball is in Thomas’ hands, he made 4,234 passes while averaging 55.7 passes per game during the regular season which ranked 15th and 24th, respectively, in the NBA.  

When Thomas heard about Hoiberg’s complaint, he admits it was an unexpected rationale behind how Thomas torched his roster in Games 3 and 4. 

“I was very surprised,” Thomas said. “Out of everything else that I do on the court, you want to bring that up. It is what it is. I’m going to continue to dribble the ball the way I know how.”

Hoiberg may not realize it, but forcing the refs to pay more attention to Thomas’ ball-handling will also result in increased attention paid to Jimmy Butler, Dwyane Wade and Rajon Rondo (right thumb) who is listed as out for Game 5 but may return to the lineup for Game 6. 

“Dwyane Wade, Rondo, LeBron (James) … I dribble just like everybody else,” Thomas said. 

Thomas added, “I don’t know what he (Hoiberg) was trying to get at. on. And if I do, every other point guard or every other guard that dribbles the ball, carries as well.” 

This time of year, with the way the series has played out of late, Thomas understands that Hoiberg’s comments may be nothing more than playoff politics with Hoiberg shifting the conversation away from what he has failed to do – limit Thomas – and put the focus on something else.

“It may be,” Thomas said. “I don’t know what he was getting at. There’s a lot of games, a lot of dribbles I made and didn’t carry. I’m gonna play the same way I know how. And that’s giving it my all and doing what I need to do for this team to win.”