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.
Kentucky freshman point guard John Wall is facing eligibility concerns because of his relationship with his former AAU coach, Brian Clifton, according to a report.
Clifton, who coached Wall with the D-One Sports program and was with him in the summer of 2008 at the Steve Nash Skills Academy in New Jersey, was a former certified agent.
“Those are amateur issues that arose prior to their coming to our schools,” SEC Commissioner Mike Slive told Dana O’Neil and Pat Forde of ESPN.com in reference to Wall and Mississippi State freshman big man Renardo Sidney. “Those are strictly amateurism issues. As we told our people, somebody needs to determine if they are eligible. It’s not relative to you, it’s relative to them.”
According to the report, Wall may have to repay any and all expenses Clifton paid for during the period he was an agent.
Wall could also be withheld from at least 10 percent of Kentucky’s games as part of the punishment.
Kentucky coach John Calipari told ESPN.com at Thursday’s SEC media day that Wall is further along in his development than former Memphis guards Derrick Rose and Tyreke Evans, both of whom are in the NBA.
“John right now is probably farther along today than they were,” Calipari said. “Those two when they got it and they felt the offense, they were unleashed and they weren’t afraid to make The Play. When we’re in a tough game and it’s on the road, is he going to make the play that those two did? I have no idea.”
If Wall isn’t eligible to start the season, the Wildcats have the luxury of playing fellow freshman Eric Bledsoe, who chose Kentucky over Memphis even after the ‘Cats had landed Wall.
Several of the nation’s top freshman are facing eligibility issues related to amateurism concerns, including Wall, Sidney and Cincinnati freshman Lance Stephenson, the Big East Preseason Rookie of the Year who is also awaiting word from the NCAA Clearinghouse.
“He’s cleared academically so we’re just waiting on the amateur thing,” Bearcats coach Mick Cronin told me Wednesday at Big East media day. “He’s not the only one going through it, so a lot of the elite players are going through it. We’ll see. Hopefully it’s done before the first game, I know that.” (Photo courtesy US Presswire)Follow Adam Zagoria on Twitter
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.