John Wall

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John Wall

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John Wall

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The Most Impactful Kentucky Wildcats (1981-1982 -Present): #3 John Wall

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John Wall

6-4, 195

PG

Raleigh, NC

If there has ever been a more important commitment for a coach at a new program I would love to see it.  John Calipari was new at UK and had to completely bring in a new team and the main concern at the time was the point guard spot, which was dreadful the past year.  Eric Bledsoe committed which helped ease some worries but no one really knew what to think of him because he was ranked anywhere from 24th in Rivals to not even being in the top 100 in ESPN.  John Wall was the man, most fans had ever been able to watch highlight clips like the ones of Wall.  UK fans coveted John Wall in a way that I can’t remember fans wanting a player before.  The rest of the team was set and John Wall was the missing piece.  Wall was lightening fast, extra terrestrially athletic and had that swagger about him that UK hasn’t seen in a long time.

When he committed to UK, all of the analysts stopped questioning UK’s class, it was one of the best recruiting classes of all time, and Wall was the cornerstone.  When he got to campus he had rockstar status, but even better was his ability to relate to the fans.  He was humble, confident and always was the one smiling when fans took pictures.  Then Big Blue Madness happened and the entire course of that season changed.

John Wall did the dance, and everything changed.  His 5 second dance caught on like maybe nothing else has caught on around the country since, well, nothing.  UK fans started doing it and within hours there were hundreds of YouTube clips of people doing the dance.  His place in history was already set in the fans minds but then he had to produce on the court.  In his first game of his college career, he brought the ball down the court and made a 15 foot jumper to win the game against Miami (OH).  After that he ended up averaging a team best 16.6 points and 6.7 assists.  He shattered the freshman assist record at UK, and made so many unbelievable plays even YouTube couldn’t catch them all. He led UK to its first Elite Eight in 5 seasons and a 35-3 record.

He was the charismatic leader of the best team in the country that year.  They lost in the Elite Eight when they were struck by one of the worst shooting nights in recent memory, but make no mistake, UK was THE team that year, if they were on you were watching. No one had ever witnessed freshmen doing what they did, especially not when the point guard was a freshman, and the best player on the team.  The team was young, cocky, had swagger and played together, it was as impressive of a team, physically, that had come along in a long time.  Although there were other great players on the team, Wall became the face of that team.

John Wall also went on to be the #1 overall pick in the NBA draft, which made him the first UK player to ever get that distinction. This may have been his most impressive accomplishment, considering all of the great players who have worn the blue and white before him. My writing can’t do his time at UK justice, so I will leave you with some videos of the “Great Wall of Kentucky.”