WALTHAM -- Often hesitant to heap praise on a Celtics rookie, both Rajon Rondo and Kevin Garnett went out of their way to compliment Jared Sullinger after their first practice since returning from Italy.
"He's probably the smartest rookie we've had since I've been here," said Rondo. "He's very intelligent -- high basketball IQ -- and he's very unselfish. He doesn't need a play called for him. He's just been getting his points off the little dirty work."
For those wondering, Rondo excluded himself from that "smartest rookie" conversation. "I think I'm the smartest player ever," he joked. "That's my problem."
This came on the heels of Celtics coach Doc Rivers explaining how he might start Sullinger, Brandon Bass or Darko Milicic, depending on the given matchup. After amassing 16 points and eight rebounds in 26 minutes off the bench in the C's 97-91 loss to Istanbul Fenerbahce in their preseason opener, Sullinger started against EA Milano and registered another nine points and seven boards in 18 minutes.
"Sully is a very intelligent player," added Garnett. "Very, very high basketball IQ."
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