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.
Sources: John Wall Down to Two Schools; Fordham Releases a 3rd Player; Recruiting Notes
John Wall is down to two schools — Kentucky and Miami — according to multiple sources close to the situation.
“It’s down to the two of them, no question about it,” one source said. “It is Kentucky and Miami. The kid is leaning toward Kentucky. There is a little bit of a concern with the people closest to him that if he goes to Kentucky that they’re going to lose control.”
Said a second source at one of the schools: “That’s what we’re hearing.”
Brian Clifton, Wall’s adviser, told Luke Winn of SI.com that it was “accurate” to say that the race was between Duke, Kentucky and Miami, but my sources indicate it’s a two-horse race between Miami and Kentucky.
The 6-foot-4 Wall has not publicly cut his list. Asked by text on Sunday when he might cut it, he said, “I don’t know.”
Wall is the No. 1 recruit in the Class of 2009 and has long considered Baylor, Duke, Florida, Kentucky, Memphis, Miami and N.C. State.
Kentucky coach John Calipari pursued both Wall and Alabama point guard Eric Bledsoe, with the idea that Wall would start at the point and Bledsoe would play 10-15 minutes as a backup. If Wall followed former Calipari guards Derrick Rose and Tyreke Evans by jumping to the NBA after one season, Bledsoe would take over in 2010.
Calipari has already secured an impressive recruiting class that includes Bledsoe, DeMarcus Cousins, Daniel Orton, Darnell Dodson and Jon Hood. The addition of Wall could make the Cats a Final Four-caliber team, although the team would still need to jell together.
Clearly, Clifton has some reservations about Wall joining Bledsoe at Kentucky.
“The knee-jerk reaction, and justifiably so, would be to take a minute of pause to look further into it. Because I can’t imagine, to get a player like Eric Bledsoe, that [Kentucky] would tell him, we’re going to recruit over you immediately and not play you very much as a freshman,” Clifton told SI.com.
“There had to be some assurances made to him about being able to share the ball, that would inspire him to commit despite the possibility of John still coming there. … So we have to revisit that situation and make sure it’s going to be great to have two of the top four point guards on the roster at once.”
Clifton told SI.com he hopes to talk to Calipari and Bledsoe’s camp to see what their expectations are for next season at Kentucky.
“It’s definitely not a deal-breaker, but I’d be remiss in my duty as a guy that’s helping John and his family if we don’t explore it fully,” Clifton said.
Clifton is also clearly amenable to the idea of Wall going to play at Miami. Head coach Frank Haith has recruited New York combo guard Durand Scott, whose Rice team beat Lance Stephenson and Lincoln in the New York State Federation title game.
“And being in Miami is significant in and of itself,” Clifton told SI.com. “If you’re going to be away from home for a year, or two years, or four, there are much worse places to be.”
Still, Wall has also said he may want to stay home in North Carolina to be near his ailing mother.
COLLEGE & RECRUITING NOTES**A third Fordham player, freshman forward Lamar Thomas of Littleton, Col., obtained his release yesterday, bringing to three the number of Rams who are leaving the program this year. Trey Blue is headed to Illinois State and Mike Moore to Hofstra. Yet somehow the program won’t let freshman point guard Jio Fontan out? How does that make any kind of sense?
**Fabricio De Melo, a 7-foot, 267-pound native of Brazil who is currently in his junior year at Sagemont High School in Weston, Fla., visited Syracuse over the weekend but didn’t commit, according to the Syracuse Post-Standard.
Known as Fab Melo, the 7-footer has also visited Louisville and Connecticut and will visit Florida Sunday.
**Khalif Toombs, a 5-8, 150-pound jet-quick point guard out of IMG Academies in Bradenton, Fla. who can step out and shoot with range, will visit La Salle this weekend.
“He is our best pure point guard since Taurean Green,” IMG coach Dan Barto said. “He matched up and held his own against the Florida JUCOs and had a great showing against Johnny Lacy and KC Ross-Miller as well.”
Toombs, originally from Atlantic City, averaged 16 points, 6 assists and 2 steals per game this year.
**Jeremee Davis, a 6-2, 185-pound lead guard also from IMG, has interest from William & Mary, St. Francis (Pa.), Norfolk State and North Dakota State, Barto said.
**Various college players are training at IMG for the upcoming NBA Draft, including Pitt’s DeJuan Blair and Louisville’s Earl Clark.
“We will be adding Tashid Carr, Marcus Thornton and possibly Ricky Rubio to our pre-draft routine,” Barto said.
**No update on Quintrell Thomas. The Kansas forward is expected to announce for Siena, St. Joe’s or UNLV any day now.
**2010 guard Steve Rennard of St. Joe’s Metuchen (N.J.) committed to Penn.
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.