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Great Wall of Washington likely soon a reality

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May 21

While it probably wasn’t all that necessary, former Kentucky guard John Wall made his case to be the top pick in the 2010 NBA Draft on June 24 when speaking at the NBA Draft Combine in Chicago on Thursday.

“I’m a competitive person,” said Wall. “I want to win and I’m not selfish. I’ll try to help my organization win. The teams with the Number 1 and 2 picks had losing records last year. I’m trying to help the organizations change and make them into a winning program.”
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Wall will obviously visit the Washington Wizards, who scored the top pick despite having only a 10.3 percent chance, and didn’t rule out working out for the Philadelphia Sixers, who own the second pick. But he made no mistake about it—he wants to go No. 1.

“That’s a goal,” said Wall. “Everybody growing up as a kid wants to be the No. 1 pick. If it doesn’t happen that way, I’ll be cool. I get to play in the NBA and that’s my dream come true, no matter what pick I am.”

Wall, a self-described scoring point guard all his life, doesn’t shy away from the inevitable comparisons to the stellar point guards before him who also played for John Calipari, Derrick Rose and Tyreke Evans.

“Everybody tries to compare me to Derrick and we do play similar with our speed. He’s just a little stronger,” said Wall. “That’s a great comparison, but I want to start a legacy of my own. It’s not downplaying Derrick Rose. He’s a great player and an All-Star. Why wouldn’t you want to be compared to a guy like that?”

Wall said he has spoken with Rose for advice and that the two have a good relationship. He later acknowledged he’s relied on another NBA star for help besides Rose—free agent to be and leaue MVP LeBron James.

“I talked to him and LeBron during my season,” said Wall. “They both had a lot of hype coming into the league.”

When asked about the advice Rose imparted, Wall said, “You just have to work hard. You can’t let it get to your head. People are going to say certain things, some of it is going to be positive and some will be negative. Whatever is negative, you just have to build on whatever they say to work on.”

The Wizards reportedly sold approximately 400 new season tickets the day after beating the odds to winning the lottery. Wall likened going to the Wizards—or Sixers, for that matter—to when he arrived in Lexington tasked with restoring glory to the program and winning a national championship.  That’s a lot to put on a 19-year old’s shoulders, but Wall said he’s ready.

“There’s no pressure,” he said.  “You can’t let it get to you. You’ve just got to stay humble and work hard.”

John Wall meets the media at the NBA Draft Combine—Parts I & II (05.20.10):


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