Wall says he’s still unsure about turning pro
INDIANAPOLIS – Kentucky point guard John Wall told reporters Thursday that he hasn’t decided whether to enter the NBA draft.
He may have given coach John Calipari a different story.
Speaking during Thursday’s Rupp Award ceremony at the Downtown Marriott – where Wall was honored as the nation’s top player – Calipari made it sound as if Wall had played his last game as a Wildcat.
“He wants to be the first player who stayed only one year to get his college degree,” Calipari told a roomful of about 200 guests. “He’s a year-and-a-half into it right now.”
Wall, who is expected to be the No. 1 pick in this summer’s draft, indicated after the ceremony that Calipari’s comments were premature. He said he would make an announcement about his future plans “in the next week or two.”
“It may seem like any easy decision,” Wall said, “but college is a great experience. I didn’t think it’d be this fun.”
Wall was the leading scorer for a Kentucky squad that went 35-2 before being upset by West Virginia last week in the Elite Eight. He said being in Indianapolis this week is tough because he feels as if he and his teammates should still be playing.
“Our goal was to win a national championship,” he said. “That’s what we wanted. It was just one of those nights when we didn’t make our shots and the other team played good. They had a great strategy and they stopped us.”
Wall is one of five Kentucky players expected to leave school early for the NBA draft. Freshman Daniel Orton has already announced his plans to turn pro. Classmates Eric Bledsoe and DeMarcus Cousins are expected to follow suit along with junior Patrick Patterson.
“I’ve always encouraged kids to put their names in the draft and explore,” Calipari said. “This team was so good that it elevated every player. If we were a bad team, they would’ve looked bad as individual players.
“The other thing is that we had a group that wanted to be coached. They wanted to change and play differently. Anybody that saw them from their hometown said, ‘I can’t believe it’s the same guy.’ From John Wall to Eric Bledsoe to DeMarcus to Daniel … everyone said, ‘I can’t believe that’s the same guy.’
“Now there are opportunities there for them. I’ll never hold a player back.”
Wall said it’s likely that he, Cousins and Bledsoe will all make the same decisions.
“When we’re in the [dorm room] together we ask each other, ‘Do you want to go or do you want to stay?’ ” Wall said. “That shows you how we’re all brothers. We’re sticking together because we all wanted to win. We came up short.”
Even if Wall decides to enter the draft – and let’s face it, it’s almost a certainty that he will – he said he’ll attend classes at Kentucky for the rest of the semester.
“I’m finishing out the semester,” he said. “No matter if I leave or stay, I’m going to finish it out. I don’t want to make it harder for me to come back and get my degree. I promised my dad before he died that I was going to go to college and get a degree. So if I leave I’m going to make sure to come back and get it.”