Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
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NEW YORK – John Wall is not planning on entering the 2009 NBA Draft and says he will narrow his college list to “three or four” sometime next week.
Both Wall and his adviser Brian Clifton denied a report on ESPN.com that said Wall might enter the draft this year because he is 19 and a year removed from his original high school graduating class.
“No, you can count that out,” Wall a 6-foot-4 point guard ranked No. 1 in the Class of 2009 by Rivals, said Thursday at the Jordan Brand Classic practice at the L.A. Sports Club. “I promised by dad before he died and I promised by mom that I was going to go to college. If it’s for for one year, two years, three years, four years, I’m going to go to college.”
What if Wall was told he would be the No. 1 pick in the Draft?
“That’s something that’s kind of tough,” Wall said. “But you know, that’s something I promised my dad before he died that I was going to go to college…so I think it would be kind of tough but I think I would have to go to college.”
As far as schools, Wall said he would narrow his list to “three or four” next week.
“After this weekend we’re going to try to sit down and get my list down to three or four and really take that process serious so I can really pick and choose,” he said. “I think I can’t go wrong with any choices that I have with my schools. It will probably be one day next week between Monday and Friday.”
Florida has recently come into the picture in his recruitment and he added the Gators to the list of Baylor, Duke, Kansas, Kentucky, Memphis, Miami and N.C. State as his possible destinations.
“I’m considering Florida now, too,” Wall said. “They’ve been talking to me for like the last three weeks. Coach [Billy] Donovan came to talk to me last weekend.”
Wall plans to visit Miami April 24, but said he wasn’t certain if he would visit Florida or anyone else, though.
“I don’t know,” he said. “It’s kind of tough. You got to fit it in my time because it’s near the end.”
Wall reiterated that North Carolina was not on his list.
“Carolina’s not really on my list,” he said. “I talked to Roy [Williams] before he went to the Final Four and I haven’t talked to him since then so I don’t know where that’s going.”
He said Duke and N.C. State remained options, in part so that he could be near his mother, who has spent time in the hospital with an illness.
“That plays in a little bit. She just got over a sickness a couple months ago, so that’s pretty tough,” Wall said. “She don’t mind traveling but it’s kind of tough for her. Hopefully she can go where I go, but if she don’t I’ll just try and stay home instead of going away. It’s a 50-50 chance.”
Wall had listed Memphis as his favorite before John Calipari took the Kentucky job. Where does Kentucky factor in the mix now?
“I’m considering them right now, but it’s not my leader,” he said. “I don’t have no leader now.”
Wall attended Kentucky’s Midnight Madness and has been to campus on another occasion, so he doesn’t plan on visiting Lexington again.
Wall and 6-6 wing Xavier Henry are both on the White team in the Jordan game and the two looked impressive sharing the backcourt during Thursday’s practice.
“I’m sure any coach would want to have both of them back there,” said Ed Azzam of Westchester (Calif.) High, the White team coach. “A lot of college coaches would want to have anybody in this group. It’s some of the finest talent in the country, if not the finest talent.”
Wall said he and Henry had briefly discussed playing together, and Kentucky-bound big man DeMarcus Cousins is actively working both players to join him under Calipari.
“We talk about we want to play with each other,” Wall said of Henry. “I think those are the only two schools [Kansas and Kentucky] that are a choice that he has and I have on my list.”
He added: “I wouldn’t mind playing with them. There are a lot of great players in my class. If I get a chance to play with them I’d be happy. I want to go to a school where we can win, got a great academic school and all that.”
Wall said he plans to take the SAT May 4 and believes he is on pace to graduate May 20. He took an extra math and an extra science class this semester “just in case.”
“I gotta take the SAT May 4,” Wall said. “Once that’s over I will qualify for college.”
As for when he’ll pick a college, Clifton said: “It really could happen at any time.”
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.