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.
Former No. 1 pick John Wall weighs in on college bribery scandal
Former No. 1 overall pick John Wall didn’t hold back when asked about the college bribery scandal that exploded this week in the form of findings from the U.S. Department of Justice.
Wall, a one-and-done at Kentucky before being chosen No. 1 overall in 2010 by the Washington Wizards, told CSNMidAtlantic.com:
“If you are the No. 1 guy or the top guy, you’re going to have guys come at you. But you have to be smart about it. If you are only going to school for one year, there’s no point in doing all the extra stuff. If you don’t have any money and have been poor your whole life, another eight months won’t hurt.
“I was trusting no one. Listen, I grew up without a dad since the age of nine. It was my mom working three or four jobs to support our family. If she could provide from me then, then she could provide for me when I was 17 or 18 years old for a few months. You know what I mean? You couldn’t do nothing for me then. I’d been poor my whole life. Eight months? What is that money going to do for me? I was fine with it.”
Bradley Beal, Wall’s Wizards teammate, spent one season at Florida before becoming the No. 3 pick in 2012.
“I was always by-the-book, even in my recruiting process. I had coaches who wanted to offer me stuff or offer my family stuff, but that wasn’t what I was about and that wasn’t what my family was about,” Beal told the site.
“At the end of the day, I went to a program where Coach [Billy Donovan] didn’t guarantee my anything. He didn’t guarantee I was going to start or that I was going to play. That was something that I respected. Coming out of college, I was actually about to go back to college. I decided to come out on the last deadline day. For me, it wasn’t like that. It’s crazy what today’s generation is like. Kids are taking stuff in high school, taking things in college and stuff like that. For me, my story wasn’t like that.”
Knicks forward Michael Beasley, the No. 2 pick in 2008 out of Kansas State, also had some strong comments this week during training camp.
Asked if college players should be compensated, Beasley highlighted his own college experience. “I went to a small school in Manhattan, Kansas, that nobody heard of, that the city of Manhattan has now multiplied by five, six,” he said. “Should I be compensated?
Asked if the size of the city multiplied because of him, Beasley said: “They sold my jerseys. Not just me, but Kentucky and Anthony Davis. About USC and O.J. Mayo. Western Kentucky and Courtney Lee. We bring a lot to these schools and we can’t even park in front of the arenas in games. They still make us, as freshman, park two parking lots away from the dorm rooms in the freezing cold. Do I think most of the players should be compensated? Yes. Because most of us don’t make it this level. A lot of us don’t make it to the professional level, let alone the NBA. So I do think guys should be getting paid? The NCAA is making billions. Not just off basketball, but football, soccer.”
Asked if the latest scandal will bring some of this to light, he said: “I don’t know. I don’t care. I play in the NBA. If it is going to bring it to light, I got an audit to do. But I’m here for the Knicks. I’m here to play basketball.”
Photo: Getty Images
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.