Tag: John Wall
- Lakers THUMP Rockets in Game 7: Not what any Duke fan wanted to see, but it was a highly entertaining series, and it was particularly fun to watch Shane Battier’s defensive intensity pitted against the game’s greatest offensive force in Kobe Bryant.
- Magic Eliminate Celtics in Game 7: While the Magic also won by 19 points, this game was much closer than the Lakers-Rockets matchup. Hedo Turkoglu paced the Magic with 25 points and the Magic’s three-point shooters finally found their range, connecting on a blazing 62% in this game. Duke fans were happy to see JJ Redick log a solid 24 minutes, including 5 points and 4 assists, in this pivotal Game 7. While many people will argue that Ray Allen simply had a poor-shooting series, JJ’s superbly effective defensive efforts cannot be overlooked; as strange as it sounds, JJ earned his keep on the defensive end of the court in this series.
- I would also like to note that both of these outcomes held true to my NBA Playoff predictions – so far so good there!
- Duke Lacrosse Advances to Final Four: The once-maligned Duke Lacrosse program continued its stellar play, beating arch rival North Carolina 12-11. Duke looked to put the game away midway through the 4th quarter with a pair of goals to stretch the lead to 12-8, but Carolina mounted a comeback by capitalizing on untimely turnovers. Carolina’s desperation shot on goal went awry in the closing seconds to secure the Blue Devils’ victory. Duke will face Syracuse next weekend at the Final Four in Foxborough, MA. This marks Duke’s third consecutive Final Four appearance and its fourth in five years.
- John Wall Does Not Commit to UK: It was heavily rumored on many Internet sites and message boards that #1 PG prospect John Wall would commit to John Calipari and his UK Wildcats over the weekend. You know what they say about rumors…
Based on how often each phrase is Google’d, John Wall is currently more popular than Duke Basketball, Shane Battier, and yes… sliced bread.
Those of you in touch with the Cameron Crazie scene will recall a variation of this hip-hop inspired post title echoing through Cameron Indoor to salute highlight plays from Duke’s last one-and-done star, Luol Deng. Today, Duke fans find themselves in pursuit of John Wall, another one-and-done phenom, but this chase has an unfamiliar feel.
See, we fans didn’t know that Luol Deng was a one-and-done upon arrival, and many thought he would be around for several years. Despite Luol’s lofty high-school rankings (it’s often forgotten that Luol was the #2-ranked recruit in his class, behind some guy named Lebron – I wonder what ever happened to him?), the general fan sentiment was that Luol would be on campus for multiple seasons. In the years since Luol’s 2004 campaign, Duke has recruited, but not landed, several other likely one-and-dones: Shaun Livingston, Kris Humphries, and Brandan Wright spring to mind. Still, these players were not thought of as definitive one-year guys despite one completely forgoing college altogether to leap through the NBA early entry window and the others sticking around for just one season. The difference may be subtle, but Duke fans anticipated at least one year from these type of players, not just one year.
Enter John Wall.
There is little doubt that John Wall will be spending the summer of 2010 holding exclusive workouts for lottery-bound NBA teams, and some Duke fans are quick to recall that the last time Lil’ Jon was heard in Cameron was also the last time Duke was seen in the Final Four. Furthermore, many fans contend that Duke, and specifically Coach K, has adapted their recruiting strategy (in their minds, finally!) to go after the super-athletes falling into today’s one-and-done category. While there is no doubt that Duke, and specifically Coach K, did evolve their strategy, I counter that the big bang moment occurred several years ago with Luol. While we fans may not have expected his early departure, I have to think the coaching staff anticipated the jump. In my opinion, Duke’s recruitment of immediately NBA-bound players like Livingston and other one-and-dones like Humphries and Wright is further evidence that the coaching staff actually adapted their style years ago, but we fans are just now catching wind of it due to the seeming certainty of John Wall’s limited college tenure.
Now, combine the unfamiliar feel of K’s “new” recruiting approach with Wall’s seemingly never-ending college selection process (with more plot twists than Fox’s 24), and you start to get a sense of the uncertain waters in which Duke fans now tread. Compound this with yesterday’s announcement that Gerald Henderson has hired an agent, leaving Duke with a PAPER-THIN (we’re talking Ryan Kelly thin!) 3-guard rotation in the backcourt, and the sense of urgency fans have toward landing this particular #1-ranked point-guard becomes clearer. Further aggravate the situation with Eric Bledsoe, Duke’s rumored back-up plan to John Wall, committing to Kentucky, sprinkle in a recent breaking-and-entering citation on top of Wall’s already questionable past, and stir this concoction to a boil with a continually rumored, yet never materializing, pending announcement from Wall of a three-to-four school short-list that suddenly might include arch-nemesis North Carolina… Ka-Boom!!
Personally, I will be shocked if John Wall ultimately winds up somewhere other than Kentucky or Duke, despite swirling rumors that UNC, once labeled by John Wall himself as his “dream” school, will try to reinsert themselves into the recruitment process – I just do not see Wall’s handlers letting that happen. Also, I want to believe that Bledsoe’s commitment to Kentucky is a good sign for Duke, but realistically, it’s a non-factor for Wall as he will get starter’s minutes wherever he goes. And from what I have read of the B&E citation, it is a non-issue – no-doubt a very stupid decision on his part, but considering the mitigating circumstances (no forced entry, no damage, no stolen goods) this likely fades from consciousness as quickly as any common-sounding legally-equivalent misdemeanor.
Soooo… we’re back to where we’d all prefer to be: basketball. Does Gerald’s decision to leave improve Duke’s chances? Common sense dictates that John Wall would be enticed by the possibility of appearing on SportsCenter twice a week throwing alley-oops to Gerald, but considering that Duke only recently entered the John Wall sweepstakes, I have to think John Wall was already privy to the knowledge that Gerald was gone. This leads me to conclude that John still wants to be on SportsCenter twice a week, but he’s okay being featured in dunks of his own.
The bottom line is that John Wall is facing a difficult, and tremendously important, life-altering decision, and I would not be surprised if he takes all the time available to him to reach an informed conclusion. And why shouldn’t he? Wouldn’t you encourage your son or daughter to take all the time possible to fully evaluate their options? My advice for the interim: if roller coasters are your thing, keep your eyes on Wall’s daily twists and turns, but do not forget to enjoy the broader scenery in the Duke window.