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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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Thursday / January 18.
  • John Wall to Kentucky

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    Kentucky coach John Calipari completed a blockbuster recruiting class with the commitment of John Wall, the No. 1 prospect in the nation.

    “Our relationship helped out a whole lot,” Wall said Tuesday morning by phone. “It was a tough battle to the end, and just the relationship I had with Coach Cal and the other guards he had in the last two, three years, it gave them the edge. ”

    Wall joins Demarcus Cousins, Daniel Orton, Jon Hood, Eric Bledsoe and Darnell Dodson in a tremendous recruiting class for Calipari, who left Memphis to take the Kentucky job.

    Cousins is ranked No. 2 in the Rivals 150 for 2009, Orton is No. 22 and Bledsoe No. 23.

    Wall had initially listed Memphis as his leader when Calipari was the coach of the Tigers, but then opened up his list after Calipari switched schools.

    Cousins, Bledsoe and Wall are not qualified as of this moment. Wall hopes to get his standardized test scores back next week.

    Wall chose Kentucky over Duke, Florida and Miami. Many observers thought he might go to Baylor after that school put his AAU coach, Dwon Clifton, on staff. But his ties to Calipari proved too strong.

    Brian Clifton, Dwon’s older brother and Wall’s adviser, preferred Duke, according to sources. But Wall  informed Clifton that Kentucky was his top choice. Still, many expect that Clifton will be there to represent Wall when he turns pro.

    “Brian I think may have liked Duke more but I’m trying to clear things up and letting everybody know it’s my decision,” Wall said. “When it came to the end, it was my choice. Where I’m going  to I have to like it. I didn’t want anybody else making a decision. If I picked a school that he liked and I didn’t like it, it would’ve been his fault. If I pick a school and I don’t like it, it’s my fault.”

    Many expect Wall will spend one year on campus and then go pro.

    “John Calipari majors in one-and-done guards with Derrick Rose and Tyreke  Evans and John Wall probably sees himself following in their footprints,” recruiting expert Tom Konchalski said. “He can really be a program-changer. He’s an extraterrestrial athlete. He has a different level of athleticism than even the guards in the NBA.

    “He’s got to learn a different speed. I think he’s making a real attempt to do that. He’s gotta get his legs into his shot and shoot the ball from the perimeter more effectively and more consistently.

    “Going and playing for a coach like John Calipari, one year from now he probably will be ready for the NBA and I will be surprised if he isn’t an immediate factor.”

    Wall might have been the top pick in this year’s NBA Draft had he been eligible, but instead will spend at least one year in college.

    He and Bledsoe will play together in the Dribble-Drive Motion Offense for one year, and then if Wall leaves, Bledsoe can take over the point.

    “I think that’s a great thing,” Wall said of playing with Bledsoe. “Wherever you go, you gotta compete. He’s a great player. It’s gonna be good to go against him.

    “I’m gonna make him better. He’s gonna make me better. We’re just going to battle it out….I’m just hoping to help the team as much as I can.”

    Patrick Patterson, Kentucky’s 6-10 center, has already announced he will return to campus and shooting guard Jodie Meeks may still do so. Sophomore wings Darius Miller and DeAndre Liggins also return, giving Kentucky one of the most talent-laden teams in the nation.

    Kentucky now has 16 scholarship players, three over the limit, and will need to get down to 13 before the season starts.

    With everyone touting the ‘Cats as a Final Four-caliber team and some rankings installing them as the Preseason No. 1, Calipari must get them all to jell to their potential.

    Last year’s Final Four teams — North Carolina, Michigan State, Villanova and UConn — all featured veteran teams that had jelled together over a period of years.

    “It’s gonna be a lot of pressure,” Wall said. “A lot of good freshmen [are] coming. “It’s going to be pressure when you start off with a lot of freshmen. I think it’s going to be a little bump I think we can be a great team.”

    (Photo courtesy Getty Images)

    Written by

    [email protected]

    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.

    • Rivals says he did, with quotes from Clifton.

    • Lets move on to …Lance-A-Lot…

      Court Date: Day No.1

      It is easier to follow a thread..


      It is easier to follow the thread/post.

      Go to Court Date: Day1

      • AZ,

        What was your take on the court today??

        The Lance-A-Lot….COURT DATE:
        (lets discuss the pre-day court action and review the post-court results)

        Day 1:
        Pre-Court Action:
        Expect Lance-A-Lot to announce ready and claim INNOCENT.
        The selection of the jury members is next.

        THE KEY…..
        What type of jury members would you REMOVE from consideration?
        You have five people who want to remove.

        What type of jury members would you WANT to stay?
        Remember, the DA will attempt to remove those jury members.

        Plea Bargain No. 3:
        What is the latest plea bargain provided by the DA office?”

      • C’mon Zags, how long are you going to let this spammer keep posting? He obviously thinks he’s tricking the internet search engines into making his site more relevant by posting these links on this (and other) popular blogs (it doesn’t seem to be working as WCSR still isn’t even on the first page of google). It’s a definite violation of netiquette as well as disrespectful to this site and the people that read it. Ban him/it already.

    • why would we move on to lance stephenson this kid is a better player then lance and if this was lance who signed with kentucky you would all have nothing left to talk about in your lifes

    • Seems that Clifton got what he wanted from Calipari/WWW (not shocking) but Wall still isn’t sure he wants to play for another overgrown AAU handler.

    • Big Ben, get over it man. Everyone knows that this is what Wall wanted to do and the only reason he had not done it yet was bc Clifton wanted him at Duke so get over the wholw WWW thing man. The NCAA could not find anything wrong with the way Cal recriuted at UM (and they tried), and they also said that he was one of the best guys they had ever worked with. Time to grow up Big Ben and realize that UK is back baby! Sounds like to me you already know it and are terrified bc you know your teams chances just dramatically went down for years to come. Go Cats and Go Coach Cal!!!!

      • Kentucky is certainly back in relevance, there’s little doubt about that. I still don’t see them winning much since Cal has never proven a particularly adequate coach, but recruiting is 80% of the college game and he’s quite good at that.

        My team’s chances for the near future are looking pretty dismal right now and it has nothing to do with the one-and-dones Cal is bringing in. This year was our window to make a splash and it’ll be at least 2 years before we are positioned again.

        But even if Cal were interested when Boeheim retires I want no part of that guy.

      • With all the strength I got left I will have to say “Congradulations”. I did not want Wall to go to UK b/c of how Cal left our program (not rebuilt it – he put us back on the map, but how he left us).
        Anyway, its over and you guys have a lot to look forward to. I know UK has had a tough go of things in the past few years so I honestly hope you guys can live up to this season’s hype. You all have the best recruiter in college b-ball (FACT) in Cal – for now. True, he is not the best coach, but honestly, with the kind of tallent he is pulling he will not have to be that good.
        For my part, I am excited about what our young coach is and will bring to the table. Now, if we could just get out of that crapy conferance…
        Anyway, in all scencerity, CONGRATS UK. Now let us see if we can convince our ADs and HCs to get a non-conf. game on!!!

    • Maybe Kentucky can make the NCAA Tournament now.

      • gayhawk



        watch out kansass gayhawks

        • Kentucky is still going to suck. Wildcats what an orginal mascot go bang your sister and shut up!

    • to: Huge_UK-Fan

      The arrogance of the KY fans never ceases to amaze me!!! “Were Back”?????
      So what, you bought a basketball team, who cares!!!! You have the #1 recruiting class…good for you. Who knows if they will play good together? Cal is not a great bench coach.
      Let me remind you that G’Town had the #1 recruiting class last year and where did they wind up????????
      You guessed it………………….NIT BABY!!!!!!!!!!!! Sound familiar????

      Stop with the arrogance already. You seem to think that everyone should be scared. PLEASE………… NOBODY CARES!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
      All SEC teams will put a zone on the dribble drive motion and end all of this arrogance. Cal doesn’t do the zone and doesn’t understand it. Go back and watch the films and see for yourself. Cal lost some very big games because of that and he can’t manage the game clock at the end. Good luck KY

      • I’m tired of hearing Tiger Fans wine. We “bought” a team? Didn’t Memphis counter UK’s offer to Cal and add incentives like pension?

        Give me a break.

        Yes, Cat fans all over the country are talking smack…deal with it. If you can’t handle some smack talking, don’t read it.

        You’re bashing everything Calipari now, but 2 months ago your were loving it…weren’t you. Weren’t you excited about the recruiting class you had? I’m sorry its gone, but Memphis fans should have known that they couldn’t hold Cal. Especially in Conf. USA. You should have expected this to happen.

        In the top right corner of your screen is little red box with a white “X” in it. Click there and all the scary CAT FANS will disappear!

      • UCLA had the #1 class last year

        get your facts straight

        UK is back in that our coaching situation is finally in tact……….that’s what it means………….

        heaven help everybody on our schedule……………………………..

    • Wall, Cousins, Patterson and Meeks are done after next year. Then UK is back to the NIT.

      And, KU is the big boys next year.

      Lexington: A city for delusional idiots.

      • Not too fast….little sister.

        The two bigs are North C. and maybe UK-Cali.
        He still has to prove he can win …in a relevant conference.
        And not just win in Conference NoWhere “USA”.

        Yeah, KU is stll the littel sister.

        On the West, there is Arizona starting to flex again.
        Lets see if they are ready to play with the Big Boyz.


        does D.Orton ask for his LOI by tomorrow?
        Looks like the story of his playing time was overly exaggerated.
        He gets about 5 minutes per game.
        He was a RG recruit.

        Time to clean house, AGAIN.

    • Well, im glad he made a decision. Big Ben sounds like a hater and so does jayhawk11 but don’t they always ? LOL.

    • Congrats on the recruiting success. but Andy Katz on espn just called your backcourt the best in the country. How can this guy even be a sports announcer? Even with that big of a recruiting class….calling UK legitimate title contenders is a little presumptuous…especially considering your possibly starting 3 freshman next year.

      When is the last time someone won a title starting 2 freshman? let alone 3. has it EVER happened? Not to say UK isnt back in the big leauges…but on the first year with (maybe) 2 great players and 5 freshman….most of which will be gone next year…I cant justify even putting UK in the top 10. They arent even in espn’s preseason top 25 w/o wall.

      • hawks4life:

        As Jayhawk fan, Syracuse ’03 (Carmelo Anthony, Gerry McNamara) comes to mind immediately. I’m not ready to give UK too much credit, until they prove it on the court. A recruiting class like this has never happened before (at least on paper).

        It will be interesting to see how many of these recruits are legit talents, and whether or not Calipari can mold the egos into a team before they are done.

        Having the best recruiting class doesn’t make you a contender. They do return a couple of NBA caliber players, but no one on the UK roster has played in the NCAA Tourney yet.

        But you have to give credit to Calipari for turning around a program in one offseason. From consecutive NIT appearances to National Championship buzz? I’m not saying they’re worthy of all this praise, but it’s still impressive.

        Rock Chalk Jayhawk!

      • interesting how you speak of freshman starting when cuse whipped your kansass a– with a freshman point guard and small forward (maybe others not sure)


        ring any bells gayhawkness?????

    • Kansas sucks

      you gayhawk fans better come to grips with reality quick
      you have one championship in the last 19 or so years……….WOW!!!!

      have you ever gone to the NCAA championship game three times in a row??


      even twice in a row???????

      we’re the new preseason numero uno


      bye ladies

    • Love how UKcatXXXL knocks of 1 year just to say we won 1 in 19 years…..

      how about 2 in 20 with how many elite 8 and final four appearances…what has UK done in the last 20 years?

      2 titles and a runner up? wow imagine that…the EXACT same as KU.

      Keep on trolling…its what UK fans do best.

      • Wow…AZ,

        Nothing better than an arguement between a Jaycock and a Kensucky.


        Until Kensucky makes it to the NCAA, ….go on MUTE.
        The names stays until the team actually does something on the court.–
        Kensucky. Kensucky.

        KU will not win it again.
        Because NO team shot free throws as BAD as Memphis.
        Oops….Cali does not teach free throw shooting.
        LMAO again.

        PS- The best thing to happen is for UK D.Orton to transfer out.
        Cali told him stories about his playing time….before the Big man pulled his name from the Draft.
        D.O. gets , a MAX. of 8 minutes per game, durig his freshman year.
        And then transfers out….sitting out a year.

        So, best to get released from the LOI and start off college ON the Right Path.

        If I was the father of D.O. I would have a face to face with Cali.
        And if it does not feel right…then, YOU are correct.
        (You will get $crewed.)

        • Careful what you wish for, USC.trojan. Orton prefered Kansas over Kentucky when Kansas yanked his offer (and signed Thomas Robinson). The chatter is that Orton is Kansas-bound if Aldrich goes pro next year.

          • Meant when Aldrich goes not if.

    • You guys can have the preseason number 1, its hard enough winning the title w/o going wire to wire as number 1. So good luck to ya….its not how you start, its how you finish.

    • Did someone really just call this the best recruiting class ever? Myopic morons.

      Kentucky’s class is 5, 13, 14, and 72.

      Ohio State’s class LAST YEAR was close to as good (8, 12, 53, and 100) as was UNC’s (9, 18, 44).

      2 years before that Ohio State’s class was better than Kentucky’s (1, 13, 20, 31) and it wasn’t even the best class that year (UNC had 3, 5, 8, 39, 43, 79- probably the best class this half-decade).

      So there is an argument that this is the best class in 2 years, but best class ever is just asinine.

      • where are you getting those rankings from?

        espnu is TOTAL GARBAGE

        Wall is #1
        Cousins is #2
        Orton is #17
        Bledsoe is #23 give or take 1
        Hood is in the forties

        Dodson – JUCO

    • Oh yeah, and for the record, with far better coaching, Ohio State finished 22-11 last year and was one-and-done in the dance (with parts of both of those ‘best’ classes), North Carolina bowed out in the Elite EIght in 07.

      Only Ohio State did anything in the freshman year of those superior classes, advancing to the championship game behind Greg Oden (maybe the best go-to center in college since Shaq).

    • I also am not sure if I’d take Cal’s 2009 haul + Calipari over UNC’s 2009 haul + Roy. Roy has #3, 11, 40, 41 and 46. If Goodman (or anyone else) thought about it for a second do you think they’d chose Cal, Wall, Cousins and Orton over Roy, Henson, Strickland, McDonald and the Wear brothers? I kind of doubt it.

      • And few UNC fans are expecting a final four next year. Freshman-led teams, even one-and-done freshmen, rarely make it that far.

    • KU sucks and you can take that to the bank

      I love how you little women never answer my questions

      KU or UK who has more championships??????

      ya cuz ur afraid of the answer

      ditto with regard to all time wins and wins in the tourney

      USC trojan, ur as retarded as the gayhawk fans

      your football team buys players and the hoops team does as well

      and your teams still suck

      Orton isn’t going anywhere so keep dreaming that little dream little girl

      anybody who uses ESPNU’s rankings literally is totally retarded………they are wayyyyyyyyy off………stick with rivals and scout and you’ll get a clue as what’s what

      • No one is using ESPNU rankings. Anyone with any semblance of a brain uses RSCI, which is a composite of all the various recruiting services. Using any 1 (or 2) exacerbates the provincial margin of error inherent in all of these recruiting rankings.

        • Except the RSCI rankings haven’t been updated since September.

          • BUMP right there

    • Unlike UK fans I believe most KU fans live in the present. Yeah, you got a nice little recruiting class, but I don’t think anybody honestly thinks Orton or Hood will be worth two sh#ts. Orton is a very, very slow big man that I don’t see fitting into a Calipari system.
      And with Dodson being a JUCO that will take some time too. Hell, KU had both the #1 and #2 Juco players last season and we saw how much they contributed.
      And I understand your hatred for KU KUcatXXXL because they are the big dog now, but to say they suck and throw ridiculous allegations about paying players is just plain retarded. Damn, how much Memphis must hate that Calipari greaseball.
      But hey, if you sleep with a hooker you might get gonorrhea. Regardless, there isn’t a better starting five with a deeper bench that Kansas. Enjoy this team for the year they are in Lexington.

    • I would take that Henson kid that Roy got over just about anybody, That kid is ridiculous

    • UKcatXXXL sounds like he is 12 years old, and the last time Kentucky won a championship he was sucking on his mother’s tits. The last championship performance this kid will ever see, was the one put on by his mother, bent over being plowed by Tubby Smith.

      • hey sh-twad

        you should be thankful that it is impossible to pull someone’s spine out through their mouth on the computer……..

        you dig??

    • Before Calitucky none of these players were even considering them. They looked at Kentucky as just another middle of the pack SEC school who just lost in the NIT.They went from the 60th best recruiting class to #1 by buying a coach and a program from Memphis. Congratulations and when all these one-and-dones don’t even win the SEC you will be running him out of town just like you did Tubby and Gillespie.

    • UK cat please stop.
      the fact that uk won 2 championships in the 40’s that KU didnt is irrelevant.

      those championships, believe it or not is not what made those recruits go to uk or it wont help them win one game next year.

      i urge you to take off your
      kentucky tinted sunglasses and try and look at this like an objective college basketball fan.

      will UK be good again… YES.
      is KU a “little sister”… NO!

      KU and UK are both blue bloods and elite programs.
      honestly, i would much rather have KU’s team next year then UK’s, the main factor is experience. freshman are most successful when they walk into a steady program with veterans already in place.

      see Rose on memphis in 08 when he was the only freshman that started, or 03 cuse had anthony and mcnamara, but duany, forth and warrick were just as important to that team. plus neither one of those teams was dealing with a coaching change and having to learn a completely new style.

      the reason i take KU is the experience. talent wise UK and KU is splitting hairs, but KU brings everyone back from a pretty good team. UK has a new system and a boatload of new players without alot of leadership, especially with the coaching change.
      and one more thing, if you thought the whole “gayhawks” thing was original its not. missouri and K state have been throwing it out there for years, please do not stoop to there level, your better than that.

      • Yo

        if you can be mature i can as well…..

        many of the peasants on here cannot……as i am sure you can tell

        especially the unc fans and usctrojan

        P brother

    • OK all you KY fans that say Mphs is just crying over spilt milk or that we have sour grapes. The truth is, we have been telling you the truth. The way Cal does his players is not exxactly in their best interest as he says it is. It is all in Cal’s best interest and all for his ego. He lies to player just so they will play for him and it will come to haunt him one day, maybe soon
      Enjoy your ride with Cal. We enjoyed Cal for a long time and then things became evident which will also come to surface in KY.
      I wish KY all the luck in the world with your program but the truth has a way of showing up.

    • memphis fan

      i have not once said anything on here that you are speaking of. I also have no compunction in saying that I think you will have a good upcoming season