“With the first pick in the 2010 NBA Draft, the Washington Wizards select John Wall of the University of Kentucky,” NBA Commissioner David Stern said at 7:38 p.m., and it was official.
In the storied history of that program, hard as it is to believe, no player has ever been taken No. 1.
ESPN rubs salt in the Washington wounds by re-showing the Kwame Brown pick from 2001, then comes up with a Gilbert Arenas graphic showing his 50-game suspension for a gun incident.
You don’t get a No. 1 pick because things are going well.
Wall will need some maturity to go in and handle the situation.
He’s been getting advice from Lebron James on going into a losing situation as a No. 1 pick. He said James’ advice was this: “Basically just stay level,” Wall told ESPN.s Heather Cox moments before the draft. “You know it’s going to be a tough time. And like he said, Don’t try to go in and live up to all the hype. Just go in and play basketball and enjoy every moment that you get a chance to play.”
Said NBA analyst Jay Bilas: “We’re talking about an elite point guard prospect. . . . He can get from end to end faster than any player I can remember in the NBA Draft.”
Said Wall to ESPN, when asked what it means to be the first UK player taken No. 1: “It’s a big honor. They’ve had a lot of great guys like Ron Mercer, Derek Anderson, Jamal Mashburn — to be the first from Kentucky picked No. 1 means a lot.
Of the tough situation in Washington he’ll walk into, Wall said: “Basically it’s like going into kentucky with a new coaching staff and a new group of guys. You just work together and try to get better.”
On what number he’ll wear in Washington (his No. 11 is retired): “I don’t know yet, I gotta figure that out.”
A pretty touching moment afterward when Heather Cox interviewed Wall’s mother, Frances Pulley. She told Cox of Wall’s youth: “I told him he had to get his attitude together and get it straight if he was gonna play ball.”
When Cox asked Pulley how the family’s life was about to change (Wall bought her a house when he signed his $25 million deal with Reebok), she teared up and just said, “I just want to say thank you.”
She got to pick out Wall’s suit, a grey pin-stripe with a Wizards-blue tie.