Coach: Wall's Emergence is no Surprise

John Wall's name is being talked about in national recruiting circles after he blew up this summer, but those in the Raleigh area have known about the talented point guard for a long time.

After strong showings at the inaugural Reebok U. and in Las Vegas, John Wall is now rated by as a five-star prospect and the No. 2 point guard in the 2009 class.

In mid-September, National Recruiting Director Dave Telep attended one of his workouts.

"Wall was impressive," Telep wrote in a feature story on the No. 12 player in the 2009 class. "His athleticism sets him apart from his peers. Not too many lead guards catch it a step off the block, bounce it once and reverse dunk. He's got T.J. Ford speed with the ball and the intent to hammer it down if he beats his guy off the bounce.

"One of the gentlemen in the gym the night of the workout had first hand knowledge of Dwyane Wade. He saw improvement as a player during his run at Marquette and noted the similarities. In fact, the Wade comparison is one Wall himself prefers."

College programs have stepped up and made him a major priority. He has picked up scholarship offers from Indiana, Oklahoma State, Ohio State, Kentucky, Kansas, North Carolina State, and Miami. North Carolina is expressing heavy interest. Unofficial visits to Kentucky, Oklahoma State, and Ohio State are scheduled, he just returned from North Carolina, and Wall has already taken a few unofficial visits over to NC State.

None of this surprises former D-One Sports assistant Antone Williams.

"Truthfully, John Wall has always been a stud here locally," said coach Williams. "When he was playing in the AAU events, he has always been a kid that is unguardable. The difference is now he is playing with D-One Sports.

"He was playing with Garner Road, and they don't travel too much so he never got the national exposure he is receiving now. That is why he came to D-One Sports. He's attending national events and everyone is seeing how good he really is."

A growth spurt has also helped Wall bypass others in his class.

"A couple of years ago he was a 5-foot-10 point guard with super quickness," said coach Williams. "Now he has added five inches and is explosive... very explosive. He can get to the basket on anybody and finishes emphatically at the rim."

"He can get to the basket on anybody."

Strides have been made in Wall's game, and he is still developing his perimeter shot. The biggest stride may have been in his work ethic and maturity level, and once the jumper comes around, he will be the total package as a point guard recruit.

"John's work ethic combined with his skill package has really done wonders for his recruitment," said coach Williams. "The AAU circuit... pushing the basketball and playing fast, that is his environment.

"Most importantly, I can tell a definite change in his maturity level. John appears to be staying humble, and he has changed a lot of things with his attitude. He knows anything can make or break him right now, and I don't think he will do anything that can affect his recruitment."

One of those programs in the mix is NC State. Wall, who lives literally minutes away from the Wolfpack's campus, started drawing heavy attention from NC State after camping there this summer.

What is the Wolfpack's angle?

"Just like with any local school, I think State is probably working that he is a local kid and they want to keep him home in their own backyard," said coach Williams. "NC State has been in touch with him a lot, and I believe his mother likes coach Lowe and their staff.

"If you look at NC State's sideline, what is not to like if you are a high school point guard? There is a bunch of point guards over there... it seems like all of their coaches were very good college point guards. Obviously you've got Sidney... and you've got Monte Towe. You also have Quinton Jackson and Justin Gainey. They can mold John if he chose to go there. Then you have Sidney's connections within the NBA, and I know that has John's attention as well."

Wall's focus will soon be shifting to his junior season, where he will be looking to lead Raleigh (NC) Word of God to the private school Class 1A state championship. He maintains that his recruitment will extend into his senior season, and coach Williams believes that will be the case as well.

"I think he's going to ride it out a while. I look for him to decide sometime during his senior year."

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