Wall Taking His Time

RALEIGH, N.C. -- Word of God point guard John Wall was all smiles after helping lead his team to the GSK Holiday Invitational title.

"It feels good," John Wall told Pack Pride. "This is what we wanted to do when we came into this tournament. We wanted to win this one."

For his efforts, the 6-foot-3 point guard was named Most Valuable Player of the event. The win over DeMatha in the finals won the title, but the biggest game might have been the semifinal matchup against Woodland Hills (CA) Taft. Taft's starting point guard, Larry Drew, has signed with North Carolina, and Wall knew the fans came out to watch the matchup.

Both players had their moments, but it was Wall, who has yet to receive an offer from North Carolina, who came out with the victory.

"I just wanted to show everybody that I can come out and play at the same level as him," said Wall. "Some people were saying he was going to kill me because he's going to Carolina, and I don't have an offer from them. Or I couldn't hang with him because he's going to Carolina, and I wanted to come out and show that I could.

"He's a good player. He was asking me how was I so fast, and I told him after the game that he was a good point guard. I knew he could dribble, shoot, and was fast, but he surprised me with how much he went to the rack."

"Getting an offer from [North Carolina] is not a big deal in my recruitment, but I would love to get one from them," Wall added. "I just wanted to come out here and show everybody that even though he's going to Carolina I can play at the same level."

Helping Wall in the tournament was super sophomore C.J. Leslie. The 6-foot-8, 200-pound forward earned Most Outstanding Player honors after averaging 21.3 points per game in the three-game event. Leslie, who is in his first season at Word of God, has had problems at times controlling his emotions, but Wall stated that a talk they recently had has led to a change in the Wolfpack commitment's approach.

"He's changed a lot," said Wall. "We used to have arguments during the game but after that Mt. Zion game we sat down and talked man-to-man. We just aired everything out and now our chemistry is great. Now we are playing together... two of the best you'll see in North Carolina. It's working well."

Considered a top-25 recruit in the 2009 class and a five-star prospect, Wall's recruitment is going to be a major battle. He already holds offers from programs such as NC State, Memphis, Miami, Kentucky, Kansas, Indiana, Virginia, Ohio State, and Oklahoma State among others. He maintains that he doesn't have a leader.

"I really don't have any favorites," he stated. "A lot of teams are on me. Memphis has stepped in, Kansas has stepped in, Vanderbilt, NC State, Oklahoma State... all them have been coming at me. I'm looking at all of them, but I'm still looking at the others."

One of the others is now Duke. The local ACC program hosted Wall for an unofficial visit and are now evaluating the elite talent. Assistant Johnny Dawkins scouted Wall at the GSK Holiday Invitational.

"I went to their game against Albany," Wall stated. "Coach Dawkins and Coach K talked to me after the game. I'd love to be recruited by them too. It's a good school. It seems like coach K is really trying to push the ball... from what I've seen. They are running the Phoenix Suns offense so that's a good fit."

While he didn't name leaders, Wall did mention three schools that are recruiting him hard.

"I think [NC] State is really coming after me hard... them, Virginia, and Memphis."

NC State is the hometown team for Wall, who lives just minutes from the Wolfpack's campus. His mother would like to see him play close to home but expect Wall to evaluate all of his options before making a decision.

"My mom, she really wants me to go to State," said Wall. "That is the school she likes. It would be a good fit, but it's just something I'd like to do. There's nothing wrong with being here, but I'm just going to look at all my schools and see what I'll do after that."

Wolfpack head coach Sidney Lowe watched Wall's final two games in the tournament. The talented point guard likes what NC State is looking to do offensively.

"It's hard for coach Lowe right now because their true point guard just got injured, but he's really trying to run the pick-and-roll offense," said Wall. "He played and coached in the NBA so he knows how to run that offense.

"I love the pick-and-roll. That's what we try to run a lot here."

After his junior season at Word of God, Wall plans to again hit the AAU circuit with D-One Sports. Look for him to team up with fellow Raleigh standout, Ravenscroft forward Ryan Kelly.

"I'm still going to stay with D-One Sports and Ryan Kelly," Wall stated. "Ryan's a good big man. I love playing with him... that's a guy I would love to play with in college."

Wall has stated all along that he's going to take official visits and not look to make an early decision. Is that still the case?

"I'm waiting until my senior year."

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