I knew when college basketball season started there would be interesting stories everywhere. Monmouth's early win over the Isiah Thomas led FIU team to help christen the MAC in West Long Branch, New Jersey, Rider dropping Mississippi State to start their year, UCLA just self destructing in the non-conference slate, Syracuse erasing their pre-season loss to LeMoyne to prove they are in fact very good, just to name a few. But the most exciting thing thus far for me has been the University of Kentucky and their freshman superstar John Wall. I know I'm just the latest to hype the guy who will easily be the top pick in next year's NBA Draft if he chooses to leave, but if you haven't seen UK game, find a television that is showing one and enjoy.
Wall is a combination of everything that we see in players who are emerging as true stars at the college level; ball-handling, shooting, explosiveness, and the clutch factor. The guy was saddled with a ton of hype before he ever hit the court at Rupp Arena and all he did to validate it was drop the game winner in the second game of the season over Miami (OH). Fueled by outstanding efforts in front of a national audience in wins over North Carolina and UConn (at MSG), the Wildcats continue to roll, most recently hammering Indiana by double figures on the road.
John Wall is far from a finished product, he was just 4-11 for 11 points in the win over IU, and at times he might rush things a bit offensively, but in a game where everyone is looking for potential at the next level this guy is overflowing. His deceiving leaping ability is what might be most amazing. Two early plays in the win over North Carolina where Wall just kept rising to the rim for a jam on a fast break, only to be followed by an acrobatic layup help to illustrate some of what he can do.
In the win over UConn, his back and forth with Kemba Walker was the stuff usually saved for March Madness, which makes the thought of March Madness all that more exciting. Much like Kevin Durant with Texas a few years back and Greg Oden with Ohio State, this heralded freshman is surrounded by a solid group of teammates. Fellow freshman Eric Bledsode and veteran big man Patrick Patterson will keep UK in every game where Wall doesn't shine. Which likely means we should all be getting a chance to see a lot of more of #11 in the blue and white come this year's Big Dance.