Despite His Superstar Success, John Wall Stays Humble

Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images North America

John Wall came to Kentucky with the weight of the Big Blue Nation on his shoulders. Hyped by some as the next LeBron James or Kobe Bryant, Kentucky fans expected the world from Wall. John was touted by most as the for sure number 1 pick of the 2010 NBA Draft before he ever played a single minute at Lexington.

John didn’t disappoint, in fact he could have exceeded all expectations. With what might be considered the greatest Freshman year at UK, amassing a staggering Freshman resume:

  • Freshman record of 616 points or 16.65 per game. 16th best single season in UK history.
  • Single season all time assist record with 241 or 6.51 per game.
  • Single game assist record with 16 passing Travis Fords previous record of 15.
  • 66 total steals or 1.78 per game. Tied for the 10th best single season in Kentucky history.
  • 159 rebounds or 4.30 per game.
  • SEC Regular Season Championship.
  • SEC Tournament Championship.
  • SEC Player of the Year.
  • National Player of the Year (Rupp, Yahoo!Sports)
  • All-American ( (1st), Fox Sports (1st), Sporting News (1st), USBWA (1st), Yahoo! Sports (1st)
  • All-NCAA Regional Team.
  • All-SEC (First Team – AP and Coaches)
  • SEC Tournament MVP
  • All-SEC Freshman Team

Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe provides his insights to the John Wall Kentucky fans have loved since the day he said “Kentucky”. Here are some excerpts |

There’s a reason John Wall has been tapped the No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 NBA draft for nearly a year. The desire is there. The work ethic is undeniable. And Wall has displayed a great deal of another characteristic not usually associated with phenoms: humility.

While the immensely talented All-America point guard from Kentucky is expected to help resurrect the Washington Wizards, a franchise that needs as much good fortune as BP, Wall understands that he is far from a completed product.

His jump shot could use some work, though from what he displayed last week, it’s gotten better. His athleticism is impressive. His discipline is strong. The excitement for that June 25 moment is brimming.

The Wizards unquestionably will place the fate of the organization primarily on Wall’s lanky shoulders.

He said he is preparing for that responsibility.

“I know it’s going to be a learning process and a tough time,’’ he said. “I know I am going to have to get adjusted to the defenses, the game plans the teams are going run on you.

“The key is going in and learning as much as I can in one year and try to give any advice if I am seeing something, basically trying to be a coach on the court.’’

Wall has become accustomed to mammoth responsibilities. He joined Kentucky after the Wildcats fired coach Billy Gillespie and hired John Calipari. Not only did Wall lead the Wildcats back to the NCAA Tournament — a bare-minimum requirement in the Bluegrass State — he helped the school reach the Elite Eight.

Wall handled the pressure of playing for the demanding Calipari as well as the pressure of being the nation’s best player.

Perhaps his most remarkable accomplishment was seizing leadership of a team filled with underclassmen. With DeMarcus Cousins, Eric Bledsoe, and Daniel Orton also facing high freshman expectations, Wall helped ensure the Wildcats would not become a team of individuals looking to boost their draft stock.

Wall is still a teenager. He spends most of his free time in Los Angeles playing “Splinter Cell’’ on Xbox, waiting to be introduced to the NBA world.

“I think it will be a [disappointment not to be selected first] but it wouldn’t hurt me as much because I’m still just happy to be in this situation,’’ he said. “I would be playing the game I love and would be able to take care of my family and myself.

“I visualize it in my sleep. Like I said, it’s a dream come true. If I ever look back to where my mom is, she will be in tears like it was raining outside. That will be a good sight to see.’’



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