My friend Michael Eaves from Fox Sports Net was kind enough to share his observation on University of Kentucky freshman sensation John Wall. Eaves recently wrote on his Facebook page:
“Over the weekend, I worked the Kansas vs. UCLA game at Pauley Pavilion as part of the Big-12/Pac-10 hardwood series. In case you missed it, the game wasn’t overly exciting. The top-ranked Jayhawks played like the best team in the country in stretches and survived a valiant effort from a rebuilding Bruins team, 73-61.
So the story of the day was not the game itself, but rather who came to watch the game and what some of them told me. With the likes of Xavier Henry, Cole Aldrich, Sherron Collins, Malcolm Lee and Tyler Honeycutt on the court all at the same time, NBA front office personnel were out in full force. I was told there were about 30 execs, scouts and agents there for the game–the most notable being Pat Riley, Mitch Kupchak (gave him a good ribbing about my Cats taking down his Tarheels earlier in the day)and Mike Dunleavy. Hell, even Lakers owner Jerry Buss was there, although he may have been scouting the cheerleading talent more than the basketball talent.
I had a chance to speak to several NBA team representatives before and after the game, and guess what name kept coming up the most? Kentucky’s John Wall. That’s right. Despite there being 3 or 4 legit lottery picks in action, the one guy everybody wanted to talk about was UK’s freshman point guard.
Granted it was just a few hours after Kentucky had knocked off North Carolina, but I still found it surprising how many team execs were asking me if I saw Wall’s performance. Not that I didn’t already realize it before UK beat UNC, but it definitely solidified the guarantee that Wall will be the number one pick in next summer’s NBA Draft.
The NBA is salivating over this ability to handle the ball (especially in traffic), get into the lane seemingly whenever he wants to, and finish at the rim with conviction. John Calipari isn’t the only one who believes Wall is further advanced that Derrick Rose at the same stage in their development.
“I think John Wall is a man among boys,” said one well-known agent. “His presence on the Kentucky roster is keeping that team undefeated. He makes his teammates better and he’s not afraid to take the big shot. Once he gets a consistent jumper, he’ll be unstoppable at the next level.”
So enjoy him while you can, UK fans. This one-and-done show could be one for the ages.