The Kentucky Wildcats put together a special roster for the 2009-10 season, as John Calipari was able to land commitments from Eric Bledsoe, DeMarcus Cousins, Daniel Orton and John Wall.
In just one season worth of work at the collegiate level, Wall received All-SEC honors and won the Rupp Trophy. He averaged 16.6 points and 6.5 assists per game. The Washington Wizards ended up taking Wall with the No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 NBA Draft.
Fans in Lexington will always love Wall for his contributions on the court. As crazy it may sound, the Wildcats were one recruit away from not even having Wall on their roster for the 2009-10 season. During an interview with 247Sports, Wall revealed that he refused to play with Xavier Henry, who ultimately ended up on the Kansas Jayhawks.
“I was playing with Xavier Henry and he was a talented player, but he was just shooting the ball so much, so mad he wasn’t getting the ball, I called Cal up and was like, ‘‘Cal when you switch to Kentucky, if he’s coming, I promise I won’t go,’” Wall said. “I told him that straight up. I told him I can’t go because I was like me, DeMarcus, Eric Bledsoe and all of these guys are about to sacrifice and he has to sacrifice, we’re not going to get a lot of shots. We all are used to averaging over 25 or more on our team and we’re not about to be like that, and I don’t think he [Xavier] could buy into that.”
Wall revealed that if Henry committed to Kentucky, the five-star point guard would have taken his talents to Miami.
Fortunately for the Wildcats, the program didn’t have to worry about Wall taking his talents elsewhere. He became one of the best one-and-done prospects the NCAA has ever seen.
It’s always fascinating to hear about these never-before-told stories from athletes like Wall.