Kentucky, Calipari bank on Wall street

By DARRYL MAXIE / dmaxie@ajc.com

Rivals.com calls John Wall the nation’s top prospect, point guard or otherwise. Scout.com calls him the top point guard and the second-best player overall.

And he’s all Kentucky’s.

The Wildcats are expected to get Wall, a 6-foot-4, 180-pound guard from Word of God Christian Academy in Raleigh, N.C., to sign a national letter of intent today, the final day of the basketball signing period for players who plan on enrolling this fall. That’s largely because they lured coach John Calipari away from Memphis just in time for him to have a major impact. Wall says Calipari is the main reason he’s Lexington-bound.

“It came down to where my heart was,” Wall told rivals.com. “Every time I talked about schools, Coach Cal was the first thing that I always talked about.”

Calipari’s coup sends a message, Dave Telep of scout.com told the News and Observer.

“I think right now everybody’s on notice,” Telep said. “This is old-school Kentucky right now, and the rest of the country has been served notice. This is the real deal. These guys are coming after players, they’re getting guys, and they have a powerful product to sell.”

NEWEST DOG NEEDED A LITTLE ‘ME’ TIME

Tennessee State shooting guard Gerald Robinson Jr., who’s transferring to Georgia, says his move has nothing to do with John Cooper replacing Cy Alexander as TSU coach. “It didn’t have anything to do with Tennessee State, either,” he told The Tennessean. “I appreciated what Tennessee State did for me and I had some great times there. It’s just mainly about me.” He’ll have a year to work on himself, sitting out the 2009-10 season per NCAA transfer rules. His teammate, former Chestatee High star Parker Smith, who was named to the Ohio Valley Conference’s All-Newcomer team, also is transferring, but hasn’t specified to what school.

THE TOP UNSIGNED RECRUITS

It looks like there’s a one-in-three chance that 6-6 Brooklyn guard Lance Stephenson will wind up at an ACC school, where Georgia Tech would have to contend with him. Maryland and Wake Forest are among the six schools that are in the running for him. And the other blue-chipper, 6-7 Latavious Williams of Humble Christian Life Center in Texas, apparently has whittled his list to four schools. The most prominent is Memphis, but now that Calipari has moved on, maybe Georgetown or Kansas State has a better shot. Of course, new Memphis coach Josh Pastner is lauded for his recruiting skills, so if anybody can overcome the Calipari factor, it might be him.

A STATE-RECORD SIGNEE

Georgia Tech’s football team is getting a state record-setting long jump champion in Miller Grove’s Stephen Hill. His leap of 25 feet, 8 3/4 inches set an all-classification record, breaking the mark of 25 feet, 6 inches that brought Sandy Creek’s Christian Taylor a Class AAA championship in 2007. For Hill, it was all the more impressive considering that his championship winning long jump last year was “only” 24 feet, half an inch. Hill, a 6-4 receiver signee, also won the 300 intermediate hurdles and was a part of championship relay teams for the 400 meters and the 1,600 meters. Small wonder that Miller Grove won the Class AAAA title.

NATIONAL SCOUTS’ RAVE REVIEWS

Georgia’s Orlando-area commitments, defensive end B.J. Butler and linebacker Marc Deas, get favorable reviews from national scouts who opined for the Orlando Sentinel. Tom Lemming (ESPN, Sporting News, USA Today) says of Butler, in part, “He comes off the edge really well and really quick for a 250-pounder.” And Tom Luginbill (ESPN Sports Inc.) says of Deas, who’s expected to shift to safety, “He’s played everywhere, so when he plays on defense, he has great instincts and great football awareness.”

HE MAY BE “A HECKUVA ENGINEER” ONE DAY, BUT HE’S NO RAMBLIN’ WRECK

Gabe King, a 6-6, 253-pound defensive end from Greensboro, is listed by the Charlotte Observer as one of North Carolina’s top 25 recruits and wants to be an engineer. But Georgia, not Georgia Tech, is among his reported finalists.

18 comments Add your comment

Joe

May 20th, 2009
11:50 am

How did the entire John Wall arrest thing just go away? Did the kid not just get popped for burglary a couple of weeks ago? No mention of that anywhere?

Jeez, a UGA footballer gets popped speeding on a Mo-ped and it makes the front page. UK signs a felon in basketball and is lauded?

No wonder the AJC is bankrupt, bunch of clowns running it and writing for it.

CKDawg65

May 20th, 2009
12:08 pm

The John Wall case was to me a little overblown once I read all the facts on it. He wasn’t arrested, but was given a citation along with two others for breaking and entering an unlocked vacant home. The citation would be similar in seriousness to a moderate traffic violation. That being said, questions about WHY he would want to hang out with two other kids in a vacant home during a school day raises a flag to me. Plus the fact that he played the recruiting game until the final hour and has his own “handler” makes me think there is something shady about the kid.

Here’s to hoping I am wrong for the kid’s sake, but hoping I am right for Calipari’s sake. Still wish they would have let Beetlejuice finish choking him back in the day!!

ryan

May 20th, 2009
1:00 pm

Wall didn’t get arrested for Burglary. It was breaking and entering, because he and friends were hanging out in an EMPTY house.

Not saying that that’s okay, but it’s on a whole different level than Burglary. Burglary involves breaking into someone’s dwelling with intent to commit a crime. To equivocate hanging out with friends in someone’s empty house with breaking into an occupied house and taking someone’s possessions is inappropriate. Let the kid take responsibility for what he did, but don’t mischaracterize it as something worse.

nerdhater

May 20th, 2009
3:32 pm

I hope Stephen Hill enjoys his four years of college because that is as far as he is going to go.

Chris

May 20th, 2009
3:57 pm

Wow, I didn’t even know that UGA had an engineering program. I’m not being sarcastic. I thought the liberal arts philosophy at UGA meant that they wouldn’t offer “applied” degrees like engineering.

john

May 20th, 2009
6:06 pm

Lance Stephson is not considering any ACC schools. His list is Memphis, Arizona and maybe one more. What in the world are you talking about?????????????

john

May 20th, 2009
6:08 pm

PS: Maryland has officailly said that Lance is not going to their school. And where in the world did you get GT????

jj

May 20th, 2009
7:20 pm

Pehaps Wall went to Kentucky (SEC) so he doesn’t have to play against DeQuan Jones again since he plays at Miami (ACC)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pqR0Hy1c6wo&feature=related

Memphis got fleeced

May 20th, 2009
8:39 pm

As a die hard Memphis fan, I find it troubling that the national sports media seems to overlook the fact that Calipari fleeced Memphis on his way out. Memphis had the #1 recruiting class in the country and Calipari said on the way out that “he hoped all of the Memphis commitments stuck with Memphis.” Interesting comment considering he was working all of these guys, Wall, Cousins, kid from Miami Dade, Xavier Henry, et al, while he was telling the country he was deliberating on whether or not to leave Memphis. As they say, t–ds will float and I’m confident that this lying, manipulating SOB will get his in due time. I am grateful for what Calipari did for the Memphis program, but the way in which he robbed us blind leaving overrides all of his accomplishments. His word is mud and his tactics are questionable at best. Worldwide Wes is in his hip pocket and ultimately it will lead to his downfall. I for one will enjoy every second of it. Bitter? Hell yes I am. And any self-respecting fan of any team including Kentucky would be as well if the shoe was on the other foot.

Keep sucking up to this fraud, though, and disregard the fact that he shafted Memphis in the process.

Jimmy

May 20th, 2009
8:45 pm

Imagine if that dude who posted above me really held a grudge? lol

Memphis got fleeced

May 20th, 2009
8:52 pm

Thanks for that valuable insight, Jimmies. That was freakin’ hilarious. Good luck to your Memtucky Tigers this year.

nerdhater's Boss

May 20th, 2009
8:54 pm

#1) Stop screwing around on your shift. French fries don’t cook themselves dummy!
#2) As a devoted leg humper and butt licker, you should know the name Hines Ward. He does alright blocking and receiving.

Calipari is a fraud

May 20th, 2009
8:56 pm

I second the opinion of “Memphis got fleeced.” How many scholarships does Calipari have, by the way? Can we get some coverage as to how he’s able to have 2 recruiting classes? Memphis’s and Kentucky’s? Does that “has been” program get more scholarships after their trip to the NIT?

Turdhater

May 20th, 2009
9:09 pm

Turdhater, that was quite the intellectual comment on Stephen Hill. I’m sure you have your finger on the pulse of who is a NFL prospect and whose not. Go back to the trailer and tell mama she shouldn’t home school you any more. Cause its not working.

Big Bee

May 20th, 2009
9:54 pm

Nerdhater, just cain’t get over it, can you?

WTF???

May 21st, 2009
3:04 pm

Perhaps Gabe King only wants to engineer some nerd ass whoopings in late November.

blue fox

May 22nd, 2009
12:43 pm

UGA has always had a world-class Ag Engineering degree program, and is trying to crack into the hard-core engineering game (lists 3 BS degrees already in place, Biochemical, Computer Systems and Environmental). It’ll be interesting to see how well the Board of Regents supports this new engineering thrust, with Ga. Tech already entrenched with similar degrees in place for many years.

Jason

May 22nd, 2009
1:41 pm

More on Wall and the Wildcats:

http://www.allkyhoops.com